332D: Dark Fairy Tale

I have been looking for years for a YA book I read years ago, and I am hoping you can help. This is what I remember – which could be wrong:
  • Young adult fiction
  • Part of a series
  • Dark retelling of classic fairy tales
  • Checked out from my local library between 1999-2008
  • Around the same time I read “Just Ella” by Margaret Peterson Haddix, and this would have been around the same time period and genre. This could even be written by her as well.
The book is set in a fairy-tale land, or ‘medieval’ era. The main character is a young girl who is a witch, or just finds out she is a witch, or is learning to be a witch. The girl becomes the town witch/medicine lady who people come to for medicinal needs. There is a distinct part in the book where someone comes to her with their baby who was born with either six fingers or six toes- and they want it removed, but through magic. The witch knows she can cure it without magic, but she needed to put on some sort of a show, so she draws the circle and summons the demons, but she ends up just biting off the baby’s finger/toe herself and pretending it was the demon. She is found out, the demons demand payment, and she is in big trouble.
Essentially, this is a dark retelling of a fairy tale but I could not tell you which princess she was supposed to be.
I’d love to find this book again!

319J: Brother And Sister Confront Scary Beings

I am looking for a book with two main characters, a brother and sister, and the sister is named Lorna. I forget the brother’s name. I’m pretty sure it was a scary or mystery book about a witch or ghosts. Would have read it in the early 80s which means it could have been published in the 70s. Not much to go on but hoping you can help!

319E: Getting Swallowed By A Whale

I vaguely remember the book.  I read it at a very young age, and I was born in 1997.  I brought it up to my mother and even she vaguely remembers, but we are both so stumped, and Google has produced nothing.
The layout of the book was to be landscape format, I believe, and I am pretty sure it was not hard covered, but soft (I am sure that does not even matter).  The artwork, however, I remember is dark colors and what I would assume to be an oil style of painting?  Maybe acrylic, but very Van Gogh-esque with swirls of red and blacks with slight bits of yellow.  I am pretty sure it is a woman, maybe a witch?  I know there is some sort of magic involved, but I think she lives in the belly of a whale, and a man gets swallowed and finds her in there, or he just lives in there.  All I know is someone gets swallowed by a whale and lives in it and the swirls, so many swirls and so much red.  The tone of the book was a bit darker, and I think there may have been a storm at night?  I cannot get this book out of my head, at all, for the last few years.  Please help!

288D: Woman in black kidnaps kids

It is a “scary” children’s picture book about a woman dressed in all black and she kidnaps children. She has a black hat with a black veil, yet has yellow eyes that can still be seen. She carries an umbrella and a bag of bricks. She has pilgrim buckle type shoes. She can run really fast and creates a black streak as she passes. As she kidnaps more kids, the parents of the remaining children send them to school with protection. The zookeeper’s son arrives with a boa constrictor around his neck, the beekeeper’s son wears a beehive, the military kid rides up in a tank, etc. The lady in black even takes a teacher. They eventually catch her and she leads the police to a cave where the children and teacher are kept, unharmed. The lady then slips out of the handcuffs and escapes. The book was written in English and had colored illustrations. I read it in Minnesota, USA in the mid-to-late 90s. I remember a specific illustration in which the lady is hiding behind a pole at a bus stop, just before she takes a kid.

282A: A dollhouse with a little witch living inside

This is a book that was in the library when I was in grade school so early 90’s. It was already vintage then, probably 70’s-80’s, but I actually have no idea as to the publishing date. It is about a young girl who acquires/has a dollhouse with a little witch living inside who is alive and rides around on her broom. If I remember correctly the house is in the room where she is staying with an old relative. I think someone’s name started with an S, possibly Samantha, but I could be mistaken.

254B: Witch whose hair floats above shoulders and beds become boats (Solved)

I am looking for a children’s book, published in the 1970s or earlier (I was born in 1975, read this sometime between the ages of 7 and 12, and recall the book itself physically feeling “old” at the time). Most probably published in the 50s or 60s.

Two children were the main characters, I think they were a girl and a boy. I don’t remember any names of characters, unfortunately. They lived next door to a witch whose property included a walled and gated yard. When the witch did magic, her hair “floated above her shoulders” or something like that. I remember that rowan trees figured heavily in the story line; either they were searching for them or there was something about them the witch needed.

At the beginning of the adventure part of the story line, the children’s beds turned into boats and they were magically transported to a river or creek while they were asleep – one of the children wakes up because they become aware that their hand or the bed linens are trailing in the water.

I loved this book – hope someone can help me find it.


245E: A girl, a witch and a cat (Solved)

I read this book in the 70s or 80s. It was titled something like “The girl, the witch, and the cat” or something. I really only remember that the title had a list of 2 or 3 things and said witch. It is not the lion, the witch, and the wardrobe. I believe there were 3 books in the series. It was about a girl around 12? who befriends a kooky old lady who turns out to be a good witch. The 2 become very close, like family. I believe the girl is an only child. There may also be an old warlock who is friends with the old lady. One part i remember is there is an old friend of the lady who tries to kill or put a spell on her. This results in the girl having to drive the old lady’s car to help save her. When she looks in the rear-view mirror she sees glowing eyes in the backseat; knows this is the bad lady. Somehow it all turns out good. It seems there may also be magical items such as a bowl, a phoenix, the cat, etc. Though I may be mixing those up with another beloved lost story.