#932 – Grimelda the Very Messy Witch by Diana Murray and Heather Ross

grimelda Grimelda: The Very Messy Witch
Written by Diana Murray
Illustrated by Heather Ross
Katherine Tegen Books  7/26/2016
32 pages    Ages 4—8

“Messed is best,
I always say.
That’s the proper
witch’s way.

“Grimelda’s house may not be tidy, but it’s cozy, and that’s just the way she likes it. She also likes pickle pie. There’s only one problem—she can’t find the main ingredient! Grimelda could use a spell to summon the jar of pickle root . . . but she can’t find her spell book either. With no other choice, she grabs her broom and soon finds what she needs. But something doesn’t feel quite right—can Grimelda use her magic to make her house feel like home again?” [inside jacket]


“Grimelda’s house was black with grime
and stacked with jars of mold and slime,
and ogre’s breath, and spotted snails,
and oozing goo in rusty pails.”

Well, a dirty, grimy house may be this witch’s way, but she cannot be too happy when she craves pickle pie and cannot find every ingredient needed. She knows that indescribable ingredient is in her home—somewhere. What is it she cannot find? A special ingredient called “pickle root.” Yep, pickle root. What else would you need to make pickle pie? Not that it matters, since Grimelda cannot find her pickle root.

Where would pickle root go, if it could go anywhere? (Between you and me, pickle root would find a new witch’s house. Grimelda’s home is messier than a teenager’s bedroom.) Grimelda looks high and low for the pickle root, but cannot find it. Not in her tree, her swamp, or under her bed. Wait! She’s a witch! All Grimelda needs to do is cast a “finding spell.” It will find the pickle root for her. Soon the smell of scrumptious pickle pie will fill Grimelda’s home. “The End.”


Oh, if a witch’s life were so easy. Grimelda cannot cast a finder’s spell. Nah, of course the spell is not against International Witching Association rules. The problem is Grimelda. She cannot find her spell book any more than she can find her pickle root. Will Grimelda ever make her delicious witchy pickle pie?

Grimelda: The Very Messy Witch will delight young children and parents. Grimelda, a cute redhead with wild curly hair, is a happy, contented witch. She is also the perfect witch for young children with messy rooms. Of course, a messy room is not a requirement for reading the story. But messy readers and listeners will understand Grimelda’s situation. There is no parent telling Grimelda to clean her room—she does it out of necessity.


The illustrations are adorable. Grimelda’s home looks like a home for a witch, albeit a cluttered one. The roof resembles a pointed witch hat (the shutters look like bat wings), the second floor window leans to the left, and the swamp, with its lovely blue water . . . wait, what? Blue water for a swamp? Well, it is pretty and runs right up to the house, making it look like an unfinished moat. Never find all the witchy woods or the creatures living in the half-moat swamp water. Those small, delightful details are perfect for multiple readings and for keeping a child’s attention on the page.

Using speech bubbles, Grimelda speaks a line of verse, adding strength to an already strong story. Children will recognize Ross’s wonderful witchy clutter and delight in telling Grimelda to clean her room, long before the author has Grimelda consider turning her broom into a . . . broom. Ross includes a grey cat with exuberant eyes and a Cheshire smile. Observant kids will notice other critters on hand in other spreads.


Grimelda: The Very Messy Witch is another clever rhyming story and wonderful read aloud by Diana Murray. Grimelda’s humor is perfect for kindergarten story hours. Young children will like the approachable Grimelda who is sweet and harmless; a perfect young witch for the youngest readers. Grimelda: The Very Messy Witch can be the perfect Halloween book for children who dislike scary books and for mothers willing to make pickle pie into pickle cookies—pumpkin-shaped, of course.

I think Diana Murray is one of the best new rhyming authors in kid lit. In a few years, she may well be at the top of a very talented list. As for Grimelda, I think she is a winner. If she were to star in a new picture book or two, it would be a series worth investing in. With Grimelda’s adorable attitude, she could teach young children many things (like not losing one’s pickle root or spell book).

GRIMELDA: THE VERY MESSY WITCH. Text copyright © 2016 by Diana Murray. Illustrations copyright © 2016 by Heather Ross. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Katherine Tegen Books, New York, NY.

AmazonIndie BooksKatherine Tegen Books

Find Grimelda: The Very Messy Witch on Goodreads HERE.

Diana Murray: http://www.dianamurray.com/
Follow on Twitter          @DianaMWrites

Heather Ross:  http://heatherross.squarespace.com/
Follow on Twitter          @hrosstweets

Katherine Tegen Books:  https://www.facebook.com/KatherineTegenBooks/
Follow on Twitter          @KatherineTegen

Katherine Tegen Books is an imprint of HarperColllins.

Reprinted with permission from GRIMELDA: THE VERY MESSY WITCH © 2016 by Diana Murray, Katherine Tegen Books, an imprint of HarperColllins, Illustrations © 2016 by Heather Ross.

Copyright © 2016 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved

Grimelda: The Very Messy Witch
Written by Diana Murray
Illustrated by Heather Ross
Katherine Tegen Books 7/26/2016

8 thoughts on “#932 – Grimelda the Very Messy Witch by Diana Murray and Heather Ross

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  3. Sue, thank you so much for this lovely review! Pickle cookies for everyone! And would you believe the final artwork for the sequel is almost complete already?! I can’t wait to share Grimelda’s next messy adventure. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Mmm. Pickle pie. Nothing more appetizing than that! (Although the cookies you mentioned might be more gentle to my non-witch tastebuds). Seems like a fun, charming picture book. I hope we get to see more of Grimelda in the future.

    Liked by 1 person

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