Magic Circle

by Donna Jo Napoli
Copyright 1995
Description of the book-

This book was about a hunchback woman using her healing powers to ward off daemons from the sick and wounded. As she made a name for herself, more and more people came. One day, she gets tricked by a daemon and controlled by the devil. Her town subsequently turns against her and accuses her of witchcraft. She turns into an eel and gets away, hiding deep in an enchanted forest. For years nothing went wrong until Hansel and Gretel come along. Then the famous Hansel and Gretel story finishes the book, but in the witch's perspective. The witch ends up having to decide whether to kill herself, or eat children at the request of the devils.


One very interesting thing that I that I saw in the book was the vivid descriptions on far fetched ideas. For example, the author talks about the devil talking to the main character in great detail. This either shows that the author is strange, or most likely, creative. This book taught me about healing beliefs in the middle ages. They thought that devils possessed sick and injured people, and that you had to remove the devil from a person. I would definitely not suggest this book to anyone. It has a slow moving plot, and is depressing and a little disgusting (when a kid gets his finger bit off). The the theme of this book is just weird. I also do not think the Hansel and Gretel story is 7th grade level no matter which version it is.
Book Cover shows daemons surrounding the hunched back woman
Book Cover shows daemons surrounding the hunched back woman