Wobble the Witch Cat
The Little Yellow Leaf

Old Black Witch

Dear Friends,

There are certain books that just stay with you forever. For us, Old Black Witch is one of those books. Old Black Witch is so embedded in our family's Halloween traditions that Nicky, his mother, and Old Black Witch herself seem like members of the family that come visiting every year. While not specifically a Halloween book, it was always packed away with the Halloween decorations, so bringing it out at the beginning of October was a much anticipated occasion. 

You might know Wende and Harry Devlin from the Cranberry books, including Cranberry Thanksgiving and Cranberry Valentine. This husband and wife team's books are charming and comforting; although considered vintage books, they have a modern feel that appeals to longtime fans as well as young readers discovering them for the first time. 

Happy Halloween to you and your young readers!


Old Black Witch

By Wende and Harry Devlin

Illustrated by Harry Devlin 

“Bats! Crickets! And snakes’ knees!” That endearing phrase is only one of many the unlikely heroine of Old Black Witch mutters throughout the timeless Halloween classic. Originally published in 1963, Old Black Witch! is the story of how Nicky and his other buy the perfect old house to turn into the Jug and Muffin Tea Room and then discover the house comes with a tiny resident witch who enjoys zooming around on her dilapidated broom and causing all sorts of mischief. Entertaining and fun to read, Old Black Witch is more charming than spooky but has just enough spine tingling antics to make it lots of Halloween fun.

In this Issue



Bewitching Blueberry Pancakes

Bewitching Blueberry Pancakes

This is the Old Black Witch pancake recipe, included on the back cover of the book. Bewitching Blueberry Pancakes are especially delicious as far as pancakes go, fluffy and thick and studded with warm blueberries. They are obviously helped by the magic part of the recipe (directions from Old Black Witch herself): "As you stir in the blueberries say three times: 

Gobble dee gook

With a wooden spoon, 

The laugh of a toad

At the height of the moon!"

Bewitching Blueberry Pancakes

Makes about 10 4-inch pancakes.


  • 3/4 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup skim milk
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1/2 blueberries, fresh or frozen
  1. Combine flours, baking powder, sugar and salt in a medium bowl, and whick to combine.
  2. Stir together egg, milk, and oil in a small bowl. 
  3. Add wet ingredients to dry and stir until just combined; a few lumps are fine. Stir in blueberries. 
  4. Lightly coat griddle or skillet with oil and heat to medium. 
  5. Use a scant 1/4 cup of batter for each pancake. Cook until bubbles appear in center of pancakes and edges look done, about 2-3 minutes. Flip and cook about 2 more minutes or until golden. 
  6. If desired, keep pancakes warm in an oven preheated to 200 degrees Fahrenheit. 



Magic Blueberry Art

The special ingredient in Bewitching Blueberry Pancakes is, of course, the blueberries, so we thought it would be fun to use that same special ingredient (plus a lot of imagination) to create some Magic Blueberry Art. Inspired by the famous Rorschach Test, which are symmetrical inkblots used to study people’s personality characteristics, this activity is instead a fun way to engage the creative side of your young reader.




Our first attempt became... a reindeer (why not, November is only 2 days away!). If you aren't quite ready for Christmas, here's another one of two ghosts holding hands. 



Magic Blueberry Art

What You Will Need

  • Cardstock
  • Blueberries
  • Crayons or Markers
  • Odds and Ends – colored paper scraps, fabric scraps, fun foam, etc.
  1. Fold a piece of cardstock in half along a center crease.
  2. Unfold the cardstock and place a few blueberries on one half of the fold.
  3. Refold the cardstock and press and rub all over the paper to smash the blueberries.
  4. Unfold the cardstock and remove the blueberry pulp with a fork.
  5. Let the juice stained cardstock dry.
  6. Using crayons, markers, and odds and ends of art supplies encourage your young readers imagination to soar and turn the juice stains into a magnificent masterpiece!


In the mood for more witches, ghosts, and goblins? There are many more Halloween books to explore on Off the Shelf:

 And, if our Magic Buleberry Reindeer put you in a Christmas mood, here are some lovely Holiday Books to check out: 


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