The Snitch, the Witch, and the One Who Was Rich – Joe Spraga

After Dorothy learns she’s not in Kansas anymore, she follows the yellow brick road in the magical Land of Oz to find the Wizard of Oz, who she hopes will be able to help her return home. Along the way to the Emerald City she meets the Scarecrow, Tin Man and Cowardly Lion, all of whom could also benefit from the Wizard’s help. After a long journey and some drama concerning flying monkeys and a meltable witch, the new friends are either granted their wish or learn they had the magic within them all the time.

Oh, wait. Wrong story. Let me start again.

Snitch lives in town and follows the purple moonlit trail on their way to see Father Time, who they hope to get help from. Along the way to Father Time’s place, Snitch meets the nasty old Witch. The two then form a line to wait for Father Time to open the door and help them. The One Who Was Rich then joins the line, followed by a good portion of the townsfolk, who make their needs known. While the nasty old Witch does look a lot like meltable witch from Oz, unfortunately there are no flying monkeys in this book. Finally the Wizard Father Time opens his door, offers some sage advice about the value of time and grants some their wishes. Others learn they had the magic within them all the time and make the necessary changes to their lives themselves.

So, totally different story. Sort of.

Ignoring the fact that this story is essentially a reboot of a classic that’s over a century old and wasn’t ‘broke’ in the first place, the rhymes are quite cute and the townsfolk learn valuable lessons or get what they want given to them. The Celtic font looks nice but I’m not sure it’s the most sensible choice for young readers who may have trouble with the legibility of some letters.

The clock goes backwards between the Candlestick Man arriving and the Drummer who arrives later when it’s significantly darker. There’s also a picture where the clock is missing entirely. Father Time opens his door at midnight and then he starts his speech with “It’s nearly midnight”. To emphasise this point the next illustration shows him pointing to the clock that was midnight previously and it is now almost 11:55pm. It looks as though the midnight illustration of the first half of the line up has been recycled which would have worked if the time had been changed. Harry, who was a shy guy and didn’t speak (probably because he had no mouth) is no longer a shy guy after seeing Father Time, possibly because Father Time gave him a mouth. Yes, I know I’m being picky about the attention to detail but kids pick up on stuff like that.

I was interested in this book because of the inviting cover design. I still love it, I liked the design of most of the characters and I enjoyed the rhyming. Overall though, it just wasn’t for me. There were other whinges I had as I went through the book a second time but I’m sure you get the idea by now. It did make me want to watch The Wizard of Oz for the billionth time though.

Thank you so much to NetGalley and BooksGoSocial for the opportunity to read this book.

P.S. I’m in the minority with this one. There are a number of 4 and 5 star reviews for this book so please don’t just take my word for it. Check some of those out too before you decide if this book is for you or not.

Rating: 2 out of 5.

Update

It turns out if you post a review on Amazon that this author doesn’t like they feel free to spew paragraphs of abuse at you. There was so much more I could have told you all that was negative about this book but I tried to find positives instead, like the fantastic front cover art. I guess the fact that I explicitly stated that I was in the minority and encouraged people to check out other reviews means nothing.

Rating: 1 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

Welcome to Moonwood, a modern day nursery rhyme about how to use your time wisely and be a better you! 

Follow these quirky townsfolk in a beautifully illustrated picture book, as they gather outside the clock tower and seek Father Time’s wisdom on achieving personal goals, and getting along with each other in their magical community. 

What will they discover? Time is the only true commodity. This story shows both children and adults, that we must use what little time we all have to be good to each other. 

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