The Brixen Witch: A Review

By Stacy DeKeyser

Snapshot of a Book

When Rudi brings home a gold coin that belongs to the Brixen Witch, he does not anticipate the trouble that will fall upon him and his village community. First, his sleep is interrupted by nightmares. He thinks he sees a face at the window and sometimes he can hear the witch's coin singing. Distressed after this and a veiled conversation with his Oma, Rudi attempts to return the coin to the witch only to lose it in the mountain snow. The nightmares continue.

Then come the rats. Unnaturally bold, they appear everywhere in the village. There isn't a house that is safe from them. No matter how hard the people work to get rid of them, they come back to spoil food and get into all the safe places. The village tries bringing a rat catcher to town, a diligent worker that Rudi assists. When the rat catcher hears that the Brixen Witch is to blame for the rats, he says that would be most unlike her. But if it isn't the witch, then who is behind this plague? Events grow even stranger when a mysterious fiddler comes to town.

Author Stacy DeKeyser has crafted a retelling of the Pied Piper's tale, one with an ending that resolves what happens after the children disappear. Rudi's theft of the coin creates a string of unintended events that he must try to set aright. This middle grade book would be a great introduction to retold fairy tales.

Stacy DeKeyser reading from the first chapter of The Brixen Witch at the Middleton Public Library as part of the Wisconsin Book Festival. Visit Stacy's site to learn more about the book and to download a Reader's Guide. I received my copy of The Brixen Witch courtesy of the Friends of the Middleton Public Library as part of the Wisconsin Book Festival.