Magic in the Age of Dread | Review of “Curse of the Dream Witch” by Allan Stratton (2013) Scholastic Canada

Remember the allure of reading when you were a child? There were certain stories that held your imagination because they were filled with magic and far off places, silly words and lovable creatures. Allan Stratton is one such person who remembers those tales well, and he has created his own such story in his children’s book Curse of The Dream Witch.

The Great Dread – Page 1

It was the twelfth year of the Great Dread

Once, the kingdom of Bellumen had been happy and safe. Feast days were celebrated late into the night in village squares, and children could fall asleep under the stars. No more.

Now youngsters who ventured outdoors after sunset were never seen again, and those who searched for firewood in the forest beyond the cornfields disappeared without a trace.

Stratton has created a wonderful story around Princess Olivia, the main character of the story. The Dream Witch wants her heart and until she does, none of the youngsters of the kingdom are safe. Milo -a peasant boy and one of  Princess’s subjects – attempted to go out one night and he found  himself trapped in the witch’s lair.

Page 38 – The Grinders

Milo roused. What time was it? the room was dark he couldn’t tell. All he knew was that he’d had the most terrible nightmare.

He’d been in the forest and the Dream Witch had caught him and brought him to her cottage. Milo shuddered at the thought of it. The outside door was a mouth. Not something that looked like a mouth, but a real mouth. And inside was an earthen stairway that swallowed him into her underground lair. The witch had flown him through a fog filled with the howls of evil things, over vast dreamscapes of jungles and castles and lava pits, the into a terrible darkness.

The story is a wonderful one either for a little one to read or to read to a little one. While this story is a wonderful adventure, Stratton has added elements that educate little minds as well.

Page 123-124 The Ways of the Witch

It was true. Olivia knew it. She took his hands. “Let’s make a vow, then. Let’s promise ourselves that no matter how scared we get, we’ll always remember there’s someone else who’s just as scared. We’re not alone.

“I’ll say you’re not,” Ephemia declared. “As long as these little lungs have breath, you’ve a guardian, loyal and true.”

“The best in the world,” Olivia said. She picked up her furry companion. “Back at the castle you said you knew the ways of the Dream Witch. Tell us, please. What do to defeat her?”

“The Dream Witch rules by fear,” Ephemia counselled. “Destroy that few and she’s done for.”

“But how? Her curses and spells are endless.”

“Aha! You see how she works? The thought of conquering her spells seems impossible. It makes you afraid. Already she has you.”

Allan Stratton has created a new book with the feel of all the classic stories with Cruse of the Dream Witch. It is a delight to read to a young person or for a young person to read.

Link to Allan Stratton’s Website

Link to Scholastic Canada’s page for “Curse of the Dream Witch”

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