This was read pre-1994 (most likely pre 1990). I do not know if it was old or new.

It was a novel but most likely under 60,000 words -- so probably read by 7th, 8th or 9th graders. It felt like a quick read.

It is possible that I could be mixing a few different stories today, but...

I specifically recall a world with a brother and a sister (I think) that are pulled into another world (perhaps by a book).

There were talking spiders that the children played yoyo with.

There were wolves that chased them (I believe, seems an a lot like Narnia).

There was a witch that cried tears of acid after a girl placed dandelion handcuffs on her wrists. She was trying to remove the handcuffs.

The children went to a swap meet and traded for some sweets? Maybe it was a sweet meet? The swap meet had a really hippy feel about it (that's my recollection, anyway).

That's about all I remember. I swear it was called "The _____ Queen" or "________ the Queen of Darkness".

I also remember a book drawing them into another world, but maybe that is another book that I'm mixing up with it.

1 Answer 1


This sounds a bit like The Hounds of the Morrigan by Pat O'Shea. There is a Wikipedia article on the book here. This was published in 1985 so it fits your time frame, but it's a lot longer than 60,000 words.

The bit I remembered was the handcuffs, but they were made from daisy chains not dandelions. Brigit puts the handcuffs on the witches Melodie Moonlight and Breda Fairfoul:

That’s stupid!’ she declared. ‘He hasn’t got four fathers, no one has!’ And for some strange reason and without even thinking, she threw her wilted daisy chains over the women’s wrists.

‘Handcuffs,’ she said.

At once, the daisy chains snapped tight shut. Melodie Moonlight dropped the frog who lay on the floor.

‘Nóiníni!’ screamed Breda Fairfoul.

‘Angus Óg’s flowers!’ screamed Melodie Moonlight.

The daisy chains had turned to steel shackles of remarkable beauty; the yellow hearts and white petals being of a radiant enamel; the pollen was a dusting of glittering gold.

Then the witches cry tears of acid to try and remove the handcuffs:

Inside the glasshouse, the women looked at the daisy chains and laughed derisively.

‘Such fun,’ Melodie murmured. ‘We haven’t had such fun for ages!’

‘This won’t take long,’ Breda said.They held their wrists up close to their mouths and began to lick the metal. Their tongues became as rasps directly and the glasshouse was filled with the noise of scratchy filing—exactly the sound that cinders munched by horses would make.

After a while they grew angry as the metal held and would not give way.

‘That pest Angus Óg, himself and his daisies! I might have known,’ Breda fumed.

‘Tears are required, I think,’ said Melodie.

They held the bracelets where their tears might fall on the metal and began to cry. Drops of acid fell from their eyes, but still the metal remained callous and would not soften.

They fell into a fury of anger and danced round and round the glasshouse in a frenzy of licking and crying, until after a long time, the beautiful little bracelets fell to the floor, inert as an empty paper bag.

  • I believe you have correctly identified the book. I certainly remember it was a boy and his younger sister. I also remember the book having a distinct UK feel in language. That is explained very much by the author being Irish. Thank you.
    – museful
    Commented Jul 16, 2019 at 10:07

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