This, the first of the author's four books for children, appeared at the end of WWII, and was instantly popular with children who had survived the war and were looking for tales of escapism to better, safer, worlds. It was surprisingly modern in outlook, introducing as it did the modern witch, Miss Smith, who eschewed a broomstick in favour of a much more up-to-date Hoover for her airborne travels. The tale is a classic good-versus-evil story, set in a woodland landscape populated by delightful animals, and remains eminently readable today. It was followed by a sequel 'The Stream that Stood Still', in which the same characters are involved in further adventures.
John Beverley Nichols (1898–1983) was an author, playwright, journalist, composer, and public speaker. His first book, the novel 'Prelude', appeared in 1920, and was followed by some 60 other titles, culminating in a final book of poetry, 'Twilight' (1982). As well as novels, mysteries, short stories, essays and children's books, he wrote a number of nonfiction books on travel, politics, religion, cats, parapsychology, and also an autobiography. In addition, he contributed to magazines and newspapers throughout his life, writing weekly columns for the London 'Sunday Chronicle' from 1932 to 1943 and 'Woman's Own' magazine from 1946 to 1967. He is now best remembered for his gardening books, the first of which, 'Down the Garden Path', is still in print today.
Our book is in good condition for its age, and retains most of the original dust jacket (unclipped), which has been carefully covered by a paper/clear plastic jacket of its own, showing the three main areas of loss. The book itself is bound in blue-green cloth with a black peacock on the front cover, and title etc in silver lettering on the spine. There is some wear externally, but only minor - some shelfwear and slight fading at top & bottom of the spine, with minimal bumping of corners. Inside, the binding is firm with no loose pages; all pages are clean and bright; there is no foxing. Page tops coloured green (minimally faded). A very nice copy. Isobel & John Morton-Sale's B/W illustrations are delightful and enhance the text at regular intervals; there is also a colour frontispiece (see photo).