317J: The Singing Heart

The Singing Heart – may not be the title, but that is how I remember it.   It was a hardcover I encountered as a child in the 70s.   It was heavily illustrated with black line drawings and was probably aimed at ages 9-12 perhaps.    In it a woman (maybe a good witch) dies, but her heart goes on singing.   Two kings wind up trying to get the singing heart; eventually they meet as beggars and become friends, having lost everything.   Pretty sure there is a wicked witch with a wicked dog.   In my mind the illustrations are similar to some in the Glass Harmonica, but I’m not sure about that.   I think one of the kings was named “Bagdamugus” or the like.
Thanks for any help!

294B: A witch, a storm and perhaps a cave

I read this book in the 1980s, however I think it was older.  It had something to do with a child living in a house on the ocean.  I vaguely remember something about a witch and a storm (and perhaps a cave?)  The rest is a little fuzzy.  It may have taken place in New England, but it had nothing to do with Salem.  I realize that this may not help at all, but I had to ask.

291B: He forgot to go “widdershins” (Solved)

Children’s book, enjoyed in ’60’s but probably from ’30’s or 40’s, possibly English.  Included a story about young brother and sister in a churchyard (castle yard?), playing with a ball.  The brother (possibly named Roland) went to retrieve the ball when it went over a fence, but forgot to go “widdershins” and was taken by a witch.  The little girl goes in search of her brother.  (It is possible the girl was taken and the boy went to save her, but I remember it as the girl.)  Illustrated with sweet old-fashioned colored drawings.

The story “East of the Sun, West of the Moon” may be in the same collection, or may just have been in the same bookcase.

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.

260F: Girl raised by witches is really a fairy (Solved)

There was a book that I always took out of my elementary school library between 1975 and 1978.  Although I do not have the title, what I recall is as follows:

The book is about witches and fairies.  The little witch in the story never felt right with the other witches, they were mean. I think she used to see the fairies and wish she was one of them.  The middle gets fuzzy but towards the end she discovers that when she was a baby she was caught in the witches web and that’s how she came to be with them.  But she was really a fairy and was returned to them.

I know this is not much but at 47 years old I cannot put this story out of my mind.  I have always been an avid reader and hope to find this book.  It will haunt me otherwise.

247D: Beautifully illustrated, cobwebby witches: Agatha and Hecate (Solved)

This was a paperback, and I was born in 1974 so I would have read this sometime between, day, 1980 and 1988.  Probably suited for ages 6-12.

There were beautiful spidery-looking line drawing illustrations –  almost like Edward Gorey’s but a bit more complex and not so cartoony.


There were witch sisters, Agatha and Hecate.  They were not good witches.  There was a misguided/bad man who worked for the witches named Oswald.  The main characters were (maybe) siblings and the other main character was a girl they met who knew her way around the magical world where the witches were, and the lot of them got out of troublesome situations by stomping three times on a manhole cover.  when they did that, they would instantly be whisked out of the place and land somewhere else.  They used this at least once to escape the witches and Oswald.

241C: A Boy and a Witch Named Gherkin

The book in question is an older British book, I remember finding it around the mid-to-late 90s, about a young boy being raised by his “aunt” (I clearly remember that she loved taking baths with the Purple People Eater fragrance, which was used later in the book by a sewer-comber who knew where her house was because of the smell) who is approached by a young witch who thinks she’s an outcast because she isn’t ugly, whose name is Gherkin, along with a few other strange characters – including an animal from the island each of them is from that looks like a soft white seal, loves music more than anything, and emits a thick fog when happy. The boy is the lost son of the king and queen of the island, and is the only one who can help save them from some calamity.

241A: Chinese Dragons and Witches With Flying Hair

A fantasy middle-grade novel I read in the mid-80s, with a green Chinese dragon on the cover. The dragon belonged to a Chinese girl who rode it in a circus and put on a thick Chinese accent for the punters, but could actually speak English perfectly.
She was one of the magical characters helping the two child protagonists on their adventure: another was a witch who had long hair which flew about when she was casting spells. She made an illusory double of one of the children (called a Semblance) so they wouldn’t be missed.
At one point the protagonists and their flying carpet were swallowed by some kind of evil spirit that had a dark stormy space inside it. They started calling the spirit the Glutton to make fun of it, and the witch put her head in her hands as if she was despairing so nobody could see her hair flying about when she used her magic to get them out.