The Worst Witch to the Rescue

PUFFIN BOOKS

The Worst Witch to the Rescue

Jill Murphy started putting books together (literally with a stapler) when she was six. Her Worst Witch series, the first of which was published in 1974, is hugely successful. She has also written and illustrated several award-winning picture books for younger children.

Books by Jill Murphy

(Titles in reading order)

THE WORST WITCH
THE WORST WITCH STRIKES AGAIN
A BAD SPELL FOR THE WORST WITCH
THE WORST WITCH ALL AT SEA
THE WORST WITCH SAVES THE DAY
THE WORST WITCH TO THE RESCUE

PUFFIN BOOKS

Published by the Penguin Group
Penguin Books Ltd, 80 Strand, London
WC2R 0RL
, England
Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, USA
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Penguin Books Ltd, Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London
WC2R 0RL
, England

puffinbooks.com

First published 2007
Published in this editon 2008
1

Copyright © Jill Murphy, 2007
All rights reserved

The moral right of the author/illustrator has been asserted

Except in the United States of America, this book is sold subject to the condition that it shall not, by
way of trade or otherwise, be lent, re-sold, hired out, or otherwise circulated without the publisher’s
prior consent in any form of binding or cover other than that in which it is published and without a
similar condition including this condition being imposed on the subsequent purchaser

British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data

978-0-14-192083-2
JILL MURPHY

PUFFIN

CHAPTER ONE

t was early in the morning on what promised to be a fine day in March, a bit blustery but a perfect start for the first day of Summer Term at Miss Cackle’s Academy for Witches.

Dawn had only just broken when a lone figure on a broomstick came swooping and diving through the flocks of early-morning birds, soaring among them with such confidence that from a distance it almost looked like another bird.

The pilot was Ethel Hallow, top student at Miss Cackle’s Academy, early as usual and eager to be the first pupil to alight in the schoolyard.

She slowed to an easy pace and hitched her suitcase more securely on to the broom, as it had shifted during
a rather ambitious nosedive. Her cat, Nightstar, was wedged between the suitcase and a bundle of box fles, one leg in the air, doing some serious washing without a care in the world.

Ethel dropped down a little so that she was skimming the top of the forest which surrounded the academy for several kilometres. She could see the school now, misty on the horizon. There was no one else about, she was sure to be the first – she could take it more slowly from here.

Unusually, Ethel was anxious. The whole class had been set a holiday project and, for once, she hadn’t been able to get to grips with it. Normally, the project would involve pupils looking things up in their
Spell Sessions
book and learning some complicated new spell that they hadn’t been allowed to tackle before. However, this one was different. Miss Hardbroom, their extremely strict
and exacting form mistress, had given them a completely free rein and simply told them to come back with something unusual and interesting.

‘That
doesn’t
mean you just give it five minutes’ consideration on your way back here next term!’ Miss Hardbroom had warned them on the last day of the previous term. ‘You’ve all been here long enough, so I’m expecting you to have a little self-motivation and imagination by now.’

Imagination – or the lack of it – was the trouble where Ethel was concerned. It was her only weak point and she found herself in the unheard-of (for her) position of doing exactly what Miss Hardbroom had told them not to do – trying to think up a brilliant project in five minutes fat on the way back to school.

Something caught her eye below and she saw, to her surprise, a tabby cat in
the topmost branches of a beech tree. It miaowed pitifully as she dropped lower and Ethel realized that she could see the top of a school hat, slightly bent, and a figure partly hidden by the tangled branches. That hat! That
cat
! It could only be Mildred Hubble.

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