Jennifer, Hecate, MacBeth, William McKinley, and Me, Elizabeth

For the sake of writing the title repeatedly, I’m abbreviating this one. JHMWMaME is the second listed in the e.l. konigsburg collection.

The story surrounds the friendship of Elizabeth, the narrator/protagonist and Jennifer, a witch she discovers in a tree. They both attend William McKinley Elementary school. Elizabeth has no friends at school, and is subject to the annoying angel-devil Cynthia. So, when Jennifer offers to make her an apprentice witch, she jumps at the chance. She makes numerous changes to be a witch, and the story focuses on her experience.

******Spoiler Alert********

In reading this piece, I found myself somewhat disappointed. As the story progressed, I found myself annoyed with Jennifer and had this nagging feeling that Elizabeth was used, although that was never approached terribly well- nothing further than declaring Jennifer “bossy.”  Perhaps the most frustrating piece was at the end where they just randomly become friends with an unspoken giving up of being witches. While unspoken agreements between friends are commonplace, there was not enough established to support these things. What did she do at THE ESTATE across the street? How did she come to be there? What made her want to be a witch? We know nothing really of Jennifer.


From this, children can begin to about inconsistencies in people and the nature of dishonesty. Cynthia is that child that most kids meet that are horrible to other children but put up a front near adults. Similarly, children can learn that not all behaviors are easily understandable, or that all people are easy to understand.  They can see the importance of standing up for themselves and finding their confidence.

This book is appropriate for most ages.  Inklings accepted.


1 Comment

  1. […] takes us to our second theme of friendship. If we compare this to the idea from JHMWMaME, we see almost polar opposites. Where as Jennifer and Elizabeth feel rather manipulative, this […]

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