Looking for the name of a children’s book where a little girl is taught to be a witch. What’s striking is that they ride the broom the other way around and the progs of the broom guide the broom. The book cover was purple. There was no family she just went to some shop dressed as a witch in a rubbish bag and the owner is an old lady and she trains her to be a witch That’s about what I remember about the story. My daughter read it as a 5 year old in 2002

  • goodreads.com/book/show/42366.The_Witch_Family ?
    – user68762
    Commented Feb 24, 2018 at 18:56
  • 1
    Thanks but no since it doesn’t involve a family just a girl and an old librarian I think the teacher was.
    – Alka Karpe
    Commented Feb 24, 2018 at 19:07
  • 2
    Some more details would help. Can I recommend you take a look at this guide and edit in any more details.
    – Edlothiad
    Commented Feb 24, 2018 at 19:10

3 Answers 3


How about Ruth Chew's Witch's Broom?

Witch's Broom

Amy's mother found the little broom in their back yard, near the peach tree. It didn't sweep very well. But Amy and her friend Jean found it could do other things—and one of the things it could do was fly!

With the further details, and the content of this review, this is looking less likely, but it's a start.

  • Does it fly backwards?
    – Valorum
    Commented Feb 24, 2018 at 21:12
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    That is the stupidest damn thing I ever saw. +1
    – Valorum
    Commented Feb 24, 2018 at 21:18
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    Historically speaking, bristles forward was the way it went. The broom wasn't so much a "flying broom" as it was turning the broom into a flying mount, and the horse's head (the bristles) went in front.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Commented Feb 24, 2018 at 21:23
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    This was a favorite author for me in elementary school. This isn't the asked-for story but thanks for reminding me.
    – Aster
    Commented Feb 24, 2018 at 22:40
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    @FuzzyBoots Historically speaking the broom riding was bristles down, and for reasons that you probably don't want to explain to your kids.
    – Paul
    Commented Feb 25, 2018 at 14:53

It’s Flying Lessons (2011) by Maeve Friel, the first book in the Witch-in-Training series.

From Goodreads:

Image showing Jessica riding her broom bristles-first

The first in a new series of magical books for younger readers, by Irish author, Maeve Friel. Jessica thinks she is an ordinary ten-year-old girl but by the end of this first book, she is on the way to becoming a very bright young witch! When she sees the broomstick for sale outside Miss Strega’s hardware shop, Jessica is intrigued. for on the price label it also says: Flying Lessons Extra. Jessica can’t resist peeking inside the shop and ends up beginning her first lesson in witchcraft. Jessica learns that there is more to learn about flying a broomstick than meets the eye. First, you have to use the branches as gears – so the twigs must be in front of you, not behind you as every other witchy book show. The foremost twigs are for twirling, zooming, spinning, ducking, diving, moon-vaulting, and star falling. The Eject twig, is for getting rid of unwanted hangers on, Goblins, dragons – any sort of pest that tries to hitch a ride. Join Jess as she works towards her Flying Certificate and becomes a GASP of BR[EATH] in order words, a Graduate Airborne Spinner of Broom Riders [Earth and the Heavens]!

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    Hi, welcome to the site. Could you explain how this book matches the one described in the question? It'd help other users to tell whether this is likely to be the correct book or not. Commented Dec 1, 2021 at 3:28

Carbonel: King of Cats by Barbara Sleigh is a match plotwise, but none of the covers show them riding backwards.


Rosemary's plan to clean houses during her summer break and surprise her mother with the money hits a snag when an old lady at the market talks her into buying a second-rate broom and a cat she can't even afford to keep. But appearances can be deceiving. Some old ladies are witches, some brooms can fly, and some ordinary-looking cats are Princes of the Royal Blood. Rosemary's cat ("You may call me Carbonel. That is my name.") soon enlists her help in an adventure to free him from a hideous spell and return him to his rightful throne. But along the way Rosemary and her friend John must do some clever sleuthing, work a little magic of their own, and—not least— put up with the demands of a very haughty cat.

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