Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Winnie the Witch is 25 years old this week

Although it has to be said that she looks a good deal older than a quarter of a century! Winnie is the much-loved creation of writer Valerie Thomas and illustrator Korky Paul. She first came to prominence in the self-titled picture book, Winnie the Witch, which tells of the hapless witch’s attempts to change the colour of her black cat, Wilbur, so she can better see him in her black house amongst her black furnishings.

The ensuing troubles and the final remedy (I won’t give too much away!) have turned Winnie and Wilbur into icons for the social model of disability, which states that disability is caused by the organisation of society rather than a person’s impairment. Using this model, disabled people become equal in society when the barriers which restrict their choices are removed. To find out how Winnie and Wilbur fit in with all this, take a look at the explanation on Scope’s website, which also includes a You Tube link to Jon Simm reading the story on CBeebies!

Winnie is more than a symbol of social injustice, though, and went on to have more adventures with Wilbur the cat. You can find out all about her on her website, where you’ll find details of all the books as well as extras such as free wallpaper for your computer (I’ve got mine!). Naturally, you can borrow some of the Winnie books from Townhill Library. Just search our catalogue for “Winnie the Witch” or come in and browse the shelves of our picture book section.

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