Weeny Witch by Ida DeLage’s
Illustrated by Kelly Oechsli
Book Review by Stella Constance
Here’s a classic children’s book, with delightful accompanying illustrations that also makes excellent family Halloween reading: Ida Delage’s Weeny Witch.
It is an inspiring read about a little witch who could not fit in with the others. The much bigger witches bullied her, even naming her “Weeny Witch” because of her tiny size, her lack of nastiness, and her consistently failing in acquiring other malevolent qualities that they held as “growth markers” for all aspiring witches.
Weeny Witch liked what the witches hated most: a sparkling night sky and playing with the animals. The time came when the witches wanted to expand their territory (and terror) by wiping out the night fairies, so the nights would become “as dark as pitch”, as no stars then would be lit by the night fairies. They devised a trap to capture and exterminate the night fairies. Weeny Witch knew of the genocide being planned for the fairies, and intervened; saving them all. Of course, the witches went after her for ruining their calculated chance of spreading their dark domain. However, the night fairies returned the favor and came to Weeny Witch’s rescue.
They took her up with them to Fairyland to meet the Queen of the Fairies. After their Queen heard the story of Weeny Witch’s heroic rescue of the night fairies, the Queen began to suspect who Weeny Witch actually was. The Queen checked on Weeny Witch for the marks of the night fairies. After confirming that she was indeed one of their own, the Queen recalled the fateful night when one of the fairy babies was kidnapped by the witches. The Queen also saw that the witches did not succeed in turning Weeny Witch. The Queen and her realm of night fairies immediately took her in, renamed her Silverwing, and outfitted her with the requirements of a night fairy to continue their precious work of lighting the dark night skies with brilliant stars. We can see some Celtic tribal elements within this creative witches and fairy lore, who’s moral to the story was skillfully spun in a way that guides the readers on the importance of knowing one’s ancestry and the unique cultural markers that passes down through the generations — which one cannot hide who they really are and where they truly belong. There is also a historical and global indigenizing aspect to this story that brings to light, as we see with the glorious transformation of Weeny Witch to Silverwing, that everything and everyone in the world has a place to belong and thrive — when people work together, lighting the way for one another, especially during times of darkness that needs to be lit.
It’s a story whose moral is still relevant today, yet written and illustrated in a fun and engaging way for all ages — a classic that wins hearts.