Shabby Sunday: What the Witch Left by Ruth Chew- 1973 -Book Review #VintageBooks #ShabbySunday #RuthChew #Magic

Shabby Sunday


I have a bunch of old vintage books and continue to acquire more. One of my plans when  starting this blog was to do a post every now and then sharing one of my cherished vintage books. I figured there might be other book bloggers out there with some vintage books, heirlooms, or maybe some old books from childhood that they might want to share.

This meme titled ‘Shabby Sunday’ is for those who would like to participate and share some of their old vintage books. Do you have some shabby books you’d like to share? If so, please feel free to participate as anyone can join. Feel free to use my meme image if you’d like to. If you decide to do this meme, please consider linking back to me in this post so that I can see the book you’re sharing.

Last time I shared:

Old Bones: The Wonder Horse by Mildred Mastin Pace

Today’s Shabby Share:

What the Witch Left

By Ruth Chew



“A locked drawer in an old chest — and Katy and Louise have the key! When the girls open the drawer, they find —
A little round mirror with a tarnished silver frame,
A long bathrobe with a hood,
A pair of gloves,
A pair of red rubber boots,
An old metal box with the picture of a fruitcake on the lid
— just ordinary stuff. Or Is it?”


We found our copy of What the Witch Left at a used book sale. When I saw the cover, I vaguely remembered reading it and other Ruth Chew books in the past. Our copy is in good condition for its age. The cover is rough but structurally sound. It won’t be long  before it needs some tape reinforcement though. 


This paperback edition was published in 1973 by Scholastic Book Services. It’s the perfect length for an elementary chapter book at 128 pages. There aren’t that many illustrations, but you get a glimpse of what the girls look like and parts of their adventure. We liked that the illustrations are simple charcoal pencil and created by the author herself.


The story begins with Katy who currently has her friend Louise over for a hangout. Louise is very curious about what’s inside an old chest of drawers in Katy’s room. Once she gets to the bottom drawer, she discovers it’s locked and demands to know what’s inside.

The bottom drawer was locked. “The stuff in there belongs to Aunt Martha,” Katy said. “She left it here ages ago when she went on a trip.”


Katy opens the drawer with an old key, and they find some neat things inside, including an old mirror, some gloves, boots, and a strange orange robe. When Katy puts on the gloves, she discovers she can play piano like never before. The gloves are magic! Then they check out the mysterious boots which can magically transport them anywhere they wish to go.


Louise and Katy can’t help themselves and quickly plan a trip to Florida. They’re super excited to swim and soak up the sun. By using one boot for each girl, they stick together and step until they reach a mysterious place: Mexico. Here they meet a little girl named Pilar. The girls gain an understanding about what Pilar’s life is like in Mexico and how different it is from theirs. Luckily they remembered to bring some much-needed items with them on their trip.

This is such a deliciously magical story. Just the thought of having a magic pair of gloves to remedy all your inabilities and a pair of boots that’ll take you anywhere in the world in record time is incredibly fascinating. I have to say, What the Witch Left is an ultimate escape read for kids. It’s enchanting and had my 7-year-old totally engrossed.

The only parts I didn’t like were those involving the girls lying to their parents and doing things they weren’t supposed to be doing. Louise was too assertive at times, but Katy does have a conscience and recognizes when they’re doing something wrong. There are some good lessons in the story that promote discussion, especially with the girls’ kindness towards others. The ending is fun, imaginative, and leaves you questioning what could be next.

Overall, If you have kids who enjoy stories with magic and adventure, I highly recommend this one. It’s stories like these that inspire children to problem solve, and think creatively.  It’s a fun, quick, and easy read anyone can enjoy.

We love Ruth Chew and ended up purchasing a handful of her other titles for our collection, which we hope to share in future Shabby Sundays. 

Find this book on Goodreads and Amazon:

  • Publisher : Little Apple (December 1, 1993)
  • Language : English
  • ISBN-10 : 0590455311
  • ISBN-13 : 978-0590455312
  • Reading age : 8 – 10 years
  • Grade level : 3 – 4

Other blogs who have participated in Shabby Sunday:

Nicky@ An Introverted Bookworm

Claire@ Brizzle Lass Books

Author Didi Oviatt

Sassy Brit@ Alternative-Read

Brittany @ PerfectlyTolerable

Shari @

Jennifer @

Lisa @ Way Too Fantasy

*Please stop by these blogs to check out all of their beautiful shabby shares!*

Thanks for checking out Shabby Sunday! Have you read this book? Do you have any shabby books to share? Feel free to share your thoughts below.

♥️ Mischenko

9 thoughts on “Shabby Sunday: What the Witch Left by Ruth Chew- 1973 -Book Review #VintageBooks #ShabbySunday #RuthChew #Magic

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