Jennifer, Hecate, MacBeth, William McKinley, and Me, Elizabeth

by E. L. Konigsburg

Paperback, 1984



Local notes

PB Kon




Yearling (1984), 128 pages


Two fifth-grade girls, one of whom is the first black child in a middle-income suburb, play at being apprentice witches.


Sequoyah Book Award (Nominee — Children's — 1970)
Newbery Medal (Honor Book — 1968)


Original language


Original publication date


Physical description

128 p.; 5.25 inches

User reviews

LibraryThing member t1bclasslibrary
Elizabeth has moved to a new town and is having trouble fitting in when she meets Jennifer- a self proclaimed witch. Jennifer promises to make Elizabeth into a witch too, if she follows certain practices. Elizabeth and Jennifer form a close, secret friendship, which is broken when Elizabeth lets
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their pet toad go rather than be put into flying ointment. When Elizabeth figures out a little bit more of Jennifer, Jennifer comes back and their friendship is renued on more normal terms.
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LibraryThing member cabri
A nice little juvenile novel about a new kid at school who gets recruited to be an apprentice witch. Is Jennifer a real witch? Will the flying ointment really work? and How on earth does Jennifer walk perfectly straight with her eyes stuck to the sky? Elizabeth embraces Jennifer's oddness and along
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the way learns all of her little secrets. I also like the way she doesn't even mention Jennifer's skin color until halfway through the book.
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LibraryThing member spartyliblover
A young girl, Elizabeth, at a new school becomes friends with another girl, Jennifer, who is a witch and promises to train Elizabeth as a witch as well. Jennifer, Elizabeth and Elizabeth's nemesis are described in a believable way, but are not easy to picture, the rest of the characters have very
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little description or development. The plot is interesting at the beginning but loses focus and has a twist to try and liven up the end. The setting is a small town with very little detail and in the early to mid-twentieth century . Overall this is an okay book, but the setting is a bit old for todays reader and while it could be included in a public library it does not seem to be a necessary addition to the collection.
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LibraryThing member pbamy
Koningsburg writes with her usual flair and style creating some very unique and complex characters. The story is a bit of a slow pace particularly at the beginning but worth persevering through.
LibraryThing member jenreidreads
The title of this book is what grabbed me first. It was a very quick read, and quite funny. It reminded me a bit of Zilpha Keatley Snyder's The Headless Cupid (highly recommended, btw), in that it's about children who have/pretend to have magic. Elizabeth is a very lonely girl who becomes an
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apprentice witch to Jennifer, who is also obviously in need of a friend. I thought the description of their relationship was realistic, and the book, written in the late 60s, is only slightly dated.
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LibraryThing member satyridae
I have adored several of Konigsburg's books, but this is not one of them. I remembered it fondly from my youth and picked it up at a Friends of the Library sale, but I found that it hasn't held up particularly well- at least to my eye.

Jennifer is intriguing but never explained to my satisfaction.
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There is a paucity of any sort of description in the book- I was longing for more of a sense of place. The witchcraft training is fairly interesting, but the ending falls entirely flat and is unsatisfying in every single way.
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LibraryThing member zeborah
This seems to be a slightly abridged version of "Jennifer, Hecate, Macbeth, William McKinley, and Me, Elizabeth"? It's not stated that Elizabeth is new to town and I recall no mention of William McKinley.

It's a cute book and I recall it fondly from when I read it as a kid but reading it now I feel
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sorry for Cynthia, the girl who Elizabeth claims is so mean and so revels in all the tricks played on her: from this distance I see very little evidence of Cynthia's meanness, certainly not enough to justify what amounts closely to bullying from Jennifer and Elizabeth.

Nor is Jennifer, the hero to Elizabeth's worship, overly admirable, though one does sense that she's hiding an even more desperate loneliness than Elizabeth. So it's a relief that their unhealthy relationship of most of the book seems to give way to a more equal and real friendship at the end.
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LibraryThing member Yona
About the development of the friendship between the new girl and a very smart and confident loner; both very interesting personalities. The story moves along slowly and what I perceived as aspects of theme were subtle. I wonder how widespread enjoyment of this story would be as it took a while to
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sink in.

This was a very different kind of story from other young childrens' books that I've read. Not as much fun as the recently read Anastasia Krupnik. The interest it held seemed more a curiosity about what was to come rather than what was happening. Also of interest was that I liked the book more and more over the 24 hours after I finished it then I did at the moment I finished. If this were a more complex rating system I'd have to give this more thought but it definitely reached 3-1/2 stars so it gets rounded to 4.
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LibraryThing member broccolima
I read this book a long time ago, as a lonely little kid. I loved it so much. I was so jealous of the main characters, and their friendship.
LibraryThing member SuPendleton
This story is about a lonely little girl, Elizabeth whose family just moved to an apartment before the start of school. The only girl she knows who lives nearby is not interested in being her friend. She meets an eccentric girl, Jennifer who promises to train her how to be a witch. Jennifer has
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different tasks Elizabeth has to do like not eating certain foods. Elizabeth is confused by Jennifer and really wants to be her friend, but Jennifer doesn't really know how to be a friend. At the end of the book, they become real friends. I thought the book was okay-
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LibraryThing member wealhtheowwylfing
Is Elizabeth's new neighbor really a witch?
LibraryThing member starbox
"All year long she was a witch, disguised as a perfectly normal girl"
By sally tarbox on 1 May 2018
Format: Paperback
Last read this aged about 8!! But bits of it still come back almost 50 years on...
Written in 1967, the story is narrated by lonely new-kid-in-town Elizabeth; walking to school on her
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own, she encounters the mysterious Jennifer sitting in a tree. A fellow student - and also something of an outsider- Jennifer has created a witch's persona for herself. The magic powers she attributes to herself allow her to look on, with a secret smile, as the 'in-crowd' (centred around Cynthia) do their thing.
Under Jennifer's tutelage, Elizabeth begins training as a journeyman witch. Spells, potions, a toad, a cauldron... all played out against school and home life.
Some kids' books don't work when you read them as an adult...but this is still a great read!
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LibraryThing member fingerpost
Published in 1967, and a Newbery Honor book, this is a simple story of an odd friendship. Elizabeth, our narrator, is a fifth grader. She is small for her age and doesn't have any close friends. When she meets Jennifer, who seems to be the only black girl in the school, a peculiar friendship begins
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to develop. Jennifer claims to be a master witch, and declares that Elizabeth is now her protege... a witch in training, so to speak. Almost all of this slim volume is taken up by the witch training process, which Jennifer seems to make up as she goes along. In the end the girls have a spat, make up, and end the book as friends in a more traditional sense.
Although it was a quick, fun read, I didn't see any depth to the story. If there was any more to it than what I outlined above, I missed it.
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LibraryThing member ChazziFrazz
Elizabeth is new in town. She is on the small side for her age. She also hasn’t made any friends. She walks to school through the small woods, and that is where she meets Jennifer.

Jennifer is tall to Elizabeth’s short. Jennifer is also thin and can be a bit rude and bossy. But then Jennifer is
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a real witch! And she takes Elizabeth under her wing as an apprentice witch.

The girls spend Saturday’s together learning spells and rituals and other parts of becoming a witch. They also work on creating a flying potion and collecting the items that need to go in the potion. But just before they create the potion, something causes a rift between them.

The story is about developing friendships and the balance of two personalities to keep the friendship intact. The give and take of each in some form or another.

Adults and kids can take something away from this book. The actions and motives can be found at any age level.
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LibraryThing member tornadox
Wonderful to have finally read this entire book after reading an excerpt from it grade school. Good depiction of the ups and downs of friendship.




½ (172 ratings; 3.7)
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