Winnie’s New Computer

In another story about the scatty, scruffy Winnie the Witch,  Winnie gets a new computer.  She is very excited about it, as is Wilbur, who is very interested in the mouse.  Not that it looks like his kind of mouse, but that doesn’t stop him from patting it at every opportunity.  A frustrated Winnie throws him outside.  In the rain.  Later she has a brilliant idea and scans her entire Spell Book into the computer so that she can do magic with just a click of the mouse.  Poor Wilbur is again the hapless victim of her experiments, and it soon transpires that throwing out her book and wand with the rubbish was not the wisest of ideas…

This is an excellent satire on modern technology.  Winnie neglects her cat, who is outside staring mournfully through the rain-drenched window, whilst she orders a new wand and surfs the web at www.funnywitches.com (no, it isn’t a real website. We checked!)  Wilbur even moans that ‘that mouse has put a spell on her’.  How many parents are similarly addicted to their gadgets?  There is also the inevitable disaster when Winnie throws out her wand and book in favour of doing everything on the computer and finds herself without a back-up. It’s a simple and oft-repeated argument that we rely too much on technology at the expense of traditional methods of doing things, and perhaps that argument is nothing new, but in a children’s book it’s a great way to start a debate with young children about over-reliance on computers.

The illustrations are as bonkers and full of character as usual, and this is a carefully and well-written story with plenty of humour.  I only wish all online delivery services were as quick as WandsRUs…

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