Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Roadtrip Wednesday: Dorrie Days

This week's Roadtrip Wednesday topic: 
What book brings back memories?

There are a lot of books that bring back memories, but it's not surprising I'd pick a children's book, written and illustrated by the same woman - Patricia Coombs. Dorrie the Little Witch, is a book series published in 1968, but I discovered it as a child in the late 80s. It will always remind me of Autumn, elementary school, Halloween, and magic.

"This is Dorrie. She is a witch. A little witch. Her hat is always crooked and her socks never match."

Dorrie lives in a big old house with her mother the Big Witch and Cook. She also has her very own black cat named Gink who goes with her on all her adventures.

Dorrie's life always seemed lonely to me. She had no siblings and was left on her own a lot with just her cat. Because of the lack of adult supervision, Dorrie often got herself into trouble. But she has vanquished bad witches and goblins and solved many problems without help. She once crashed her broomstick in a pond while learning how to fly it and still managed to save the Book of Shadows from a nasty witch gang.

I read the Dorrie books and listened to their audio book versions, but what brought them to life were the illustrations. I was captured by Coombs' style from the very beginning. The black and white and limited color palette has influenced my own illustrations to this day. They gave the books the atmosphere I liked so much - the rooms in Dorrie's house that ranged from high and expansive to small and cozy, her cluttered bedroom, the heavy, patched attire the witches wore, the brick-a-brack in a wizard's den.

I loved the shading technique, the details, and the personality it had. The style is simple, but impresses me a lot now that I've grown up. It's evident that Patricia Coombs really knew her way around a set of artist pens. It takes patience, a steady hand, and a brimming imagination.

Ms. Coombs put the notion in my head to do what she did, and I'll always remember her for it.

What book brings back memories for you?


  1. I also answered with a book series from my chilhood :D I hadn't heard about this one before but the illustrations are lush and the story seems great - definitely going to get this for my future children!

  2. OHHHHH, I <3 Dorrie! She might be my favorite little witch.

  3. Wow I remember some of the books I read as a kid but not nearly as well as you!

  4. Of *course* you'd be inspired by a writer/illustrator, Donelle! :) I've not read the Dorrie books, but those pictures are, as you say, simple but full of detail and creativity. No wonder you were enthralled!


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