“Dad, We Watched a Movie at School Today about an Old Lady Who Kills Children”

by Tom B.

That was what my almost five-year-old daughter told me as I was getting her ready for bed tonight.

“What?” I said. “Wait, what was this? When was this?”

It had been raining today, so her kindergarten class had stayed inside for recess and watched a movie.

Teeny-Tiny and the Witch-Woman (1975) by Barbara K. Walker

The book in question….

“And it was about this old lady… and there was this scary part with hands at the beginning… it was so freaky… and the old lady, she was a witch… she would take children’s bones and boil them, and, if you want to get someone’s bones, you have to kill them. So this lady KILLED children, Dad. She killed like a hundred children. She had a fence of bones… no, I’m serious, Dad. She killed children. So many children. And ripped out their bones.”

“This was at school today?”

“Yes, I’m really telling the truth, Dad. It was a video from the people that made the Knuffle Bunny and Pete’s a Pizza videos, but it was about KILLING…”

That went on for a while.

It turns out – after some quick Google searches – that the video was an animated version of a book called Teeny-Tiny and the Witch-Woman (1975) by Barbara K. Walker, illustrated by Michael Foreman, which seems to be out of print. The cartoon adaptation was done by Weston Woods, a fantastic production company, owned by Scholastic, that specializes in animated versions of classic children’s books. (My daughter knows their Mo Willems and William Steig videos, which are great.)

I found Teeny-Tiny and the Witch-Woman on YouTube and… yeah, my daughter was right. That is freaky. Really freaky, right? (The hands are WAY scary.)

So, OK, Teeny-Tiny and the Witch-Woman – you’re on the radar of the Library now.

I’m going to try to track down a copy to see if the actual book is any less “freaky.” Oh, and I’m also going to enjoy about a month of questions from my kid about murdered children and the best way to collect the bones of young ones, so, thanks a lot, Teeny-Tiny.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

D May 22, 2012 at 9:18 am

An old fairy take book I was reading my daughter triggered my memory about this. I this it instills fear into children. It’s not a bad thing because it tells children that not everything is happy and trusting. Bring back the old school stuff and stop fluffing things up with fairies and flowers. Children need to experience evil and fear to cope in the reality of life


Cara November 6, 2011 at 10:39 am

This was my fav childhood book but i don’t know what i have done with my copy, am hoping is in the attic. Fingers crossed cause you can’t seem to buy it anymore.


Mike Tyrkus September 20, 2011 at 6:13 pm

Those hands really are creepy. Yikes.


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