Teaching Guide: View the Broomstix teaching guide for The Last Wild Witch online, or download it here for free. Great for the classroom, or at home. For kids and adults. What a fun idea for a festive Book Club gathering!
We see these life-affirming instincts contrasted to oppressive, patriarchal values that have sanctioned the devastation of old growth forests and other natural environments. These kid heroes must follow their yet un-stifled inner voices, even if it means resisting control and disregard for the natural world by their parents and political town authorities. Empowered children can save the world, as indeed these children do.
The Witch, centered and mysterious, offers a magic brew of herbs, leaves and berries for restoring all beings—including fish, birds, forest animals, insects, plants, children and eventually adults—to their higher selves.
Starhawk and Lindy Kehoe have been contributors to the We’Moon Datebook for many years. Both Geminis, Lindy in her first Saturn return and Starhawk entering her second, these women are brilliant in their creations as mission-living activists. The work they have created is an exciting new contribution to earth-loving literature for children of all ages.
Starhawk is one of the most respected voices in modern earth-based spirituality. She is also well-known as a global justice activist and organizer, whose work and writings have inspired many to action. She is the author or coauthor of ten books, including The Spiral Dance: A Rebirth of the Ancient Religion of the Great Goddess, The Fifth Sacred Thing and The Earth Path.
Starhawk also practices permaculture and teaches courses in regenerative design. Visit the Earth Activist Training websitee for more information.Visit Starhawk's website here.
Lindy Kehoe is a painter of magical realms and playful characters. Her art echoes the remembrance of the child heart. She lives and loves in Southern Oregon, dreaming of new earth visions. She is a fairy tale writer, creating stories that weave myths of all time. Visit Lindy's website here.
Since 1981, MTInk has published We’Moon: Gaia Rhythms for Womyn—the well-known eco-feminist datebook, astrological moon calendar and daily guide to natural cycles—with art and writing from the growing edge of international women’s culture. The Last Wild Witch is our first children’s book.
The perfect town in the perfect world, introduced in the first pages of Starhawk’s The Last Wild Witch, could be an idealistic “Any Town” USA: rows of cookie cutter houses, governed by “absolute” rules with leaders requiring blind compliance—and kids that can sense that there's something more “out there” than just being “perfect.”
The tale, written in simple language with a rhythm that steadily grows as the story progresses, deals with many issues and questions that are certainly worthy of discussion by both children and adults. It touches upon the creation of rules, the necessity of some and the arbitrary nature of others, and the eternal difference in worldviews and perceptions between innocence (kids) and experience (adults). It also shows how this effects what we do and the way we walk our Life Paths: conformity vs. individualism, engineered town vs. the wilds of Nature.
The Last Wild Witch would certainly appeal to New Age and Pagan audiences: families who have felt the wildness and embraced the woods. However, the tale is also relevant to folks who follow traditional and mainstream paths. Too often forest and farms are disappearing beneath the cement and asphalt of shopping malls and housing developments. As our natural world shrinks, more and more people are awakening to the importance of Nature, and the need to live in harmony with Her.
By letting our children lead us, through their imaginations and affinity with pristine Nature, there is hope that we have not sat down to tea with our last wild witch. This thought is brought to life through the shamanistic beat of Starhawk's words, and the vibrant, swirling art of Lindy Kehoe's paintings. Readers will see the auras and feel the pulse of their neighborhoods, and discover the beauty of the wildness that waits not too far from their own doorsteps. You might want to read this one aloud—even if you're by yourself. A wild delight!
Review by Ruth Mountaingrove
The Last Wilde Witch by Starhawk with illustrations by Lindy Kehoe. Mother Tongue Ink, 2009, 36 pages, hard cover, $18.95
The Last Wild Witch will make being a witch popular with children who may be afraid of those witches they have seen at Halloween. Fairy tales serve a useful purpose though the child sitting on your lap may not be aware of what they are learning. In The Last Wild Witch we learn that perfectionism is perhaps not the way to go. It becomes dullsville when a way of life does not allow for a little wildness or change. So there is the wild witch stirring her cauldron and beating her drum calling us to find the richness of like.
When I was six I was given a book of fairy tales and learned there were leprechauns, fairies, little green elves and trolls who lived under the bridge and demanded pay before you could cross over. Very scary. I did not know how to read so my mother read them to me, as she would do later with Alice in Wonderland Through the Looking Glass and At The Back of the North Wind.
The illustrations in The Last Wild Witch are imaginative. They swirl and swoop. There are bright colors and there are children who have a little wildness in them. Their parents, of course, are very stiff and proper and are alarmed at their children’s wildness. The children sneak out at night to go visit the wild witch.
This book is very PC. There are brown children, green children, blue children, and violet. Before you read The Last Wild Witch to a child, read it aloud to yourself. Know where the fish are, the birds, the deer, skunk and other denizens of the wild forest. Then, when you are asked by your child, you can point them out to her. There is repetition in the text to the delight of the child because she will be memorizing the words and she can join in with you and be “reading." Dr. Seuss understood that, and Starhawk does too. The Last Wild Witch seems like a lovely gift for a child, a daughter, a niece, a lesbian friend or a lesbian couple who are raising a child or children.
The Last Wild Witch: An Eco-fable for Kids and Other Free Spirits
Mother Tongue Ink
The Last Wild Witch is written by Starhawk, one of the most prominent voices in Earth-based spirituality, and illustrated by Lindy Kehoe, whose soft and dynamic spiritual visions are translated into art. Together they have created this children’s book, that on the cover is described as “An Eco-fable for Kids and Other Free Spirits.” It is just that. The calm wisdom of Starhawk, sweetly proposing that we all need some wild in us and in how we live, in combination with Lindy Kehoe’s colorful visions. The children in the story try to convince the adults that the Wild Witch, and the forest she lives in, needs to be respected. The Wild Witch, coolly responds to all threats with an evenly headed invitation to, “Have some soup.”I asked Lindy Kehoe what it felt like to collaborate with the legendary witch Starhawk, and she responded, “When We ‘Moon contacted me about illustrating Starhawk’s Children’s book, it was an immediate YES!” Lindy Kehoe has allowed The Echo World to use some of her lovely illustrations for this issue and the previous October publication. Keep a look out for our interview with her in the December issue. Meanwhile, whether you have children or grandchildren, or if you are an adult child prone to be a free spirit, you should read this book. It will bring some soothing groove to your life. Or, as the Wild Witch in the book says, “Have some soup!” Have some wild witch soup for your soul, and serve some to the children as well.
Reviewed by Sofia Karin Axelsson