The Wish Giver by Bill Brittain #throwbackthursday

The people of Coven Tree are no strangers to magic. In fact, the town’s very name comes from a gnarled old tree where covens of witches used to gather. Even now, imps and fiends continue to appear, frightening the townsfolk with their devilish pranks.

Usually these creatures are easy to spot. They have a particular smell, or sound, or way of moving, that betrays their dark nature.

But Thaddeus Blinn showed none of these signs when he came to Coven Tree. He was just a funny little man who drifted into town with a strange tale about being able to give people whatever they wished—for only fifty cents.

There was nothing scary about him. At least, not until the wishing began…

When a travelling magician shows up at the Church Social one Sunday, no one realised how much things would change.

Thaddeus Blinn was as good as his word. But beware the wording, and be careful what you wish for.

This is a lovely little story that teaches an important lesson. Everyone in the novel was unhappy with their lives in some way, they all wanted something desperately.

The characters were well written, especially for the audience intended. This novel is relevant for children learning life lessons as well as adults who may not be as happy as they thought with life.

I first read this novel as a child. I was delighted by the very specific ways that the wishes went wrong.

For the past few years I looked for this book with only a vague sense of “that one where the wishes/gifts turned out to be horrible and not what the person intended”. Let’s just say that there were a ton on interesting google searches.

I enjoyed this book just as much at 29 than I did at 12. It stands the rest of time and shows that children’s books can still teach adults how to live.

bio and photo from Wikipedia

William E. Brittain (December 16, 1930 – December 17, 2011) was an American writer. He is best known for work set in the fictional New England village of Coven Tree, including The Wish Giver, a Newbery Honor Book.

Brittain was born in Rochester, New York. He decided he wanted to be a 5th-grade teacher, and in addition to teaching, used to read stories in mystery magazines. After some time, he decided he could do as good a job at writing as some of the authors he read; he got coaching on writing from Frederic Dannay of Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine (in which, along with Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, most of his mystery stories were published). He wrote two serials from 1964 to 1983, as well as other stories, before moving on to the children’s books for which he is better known.

Brittain is also the author of the popular book All the Money in the World, which was adapted as a 1983 movie.

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