hag head

IMG_4666 (33)I was cleaning up the kids books section when I saw the spine Hag Head. I pulled it from the shelf and realized it was written by Haida Gwaii poet Susan Musgrave. When I opened it I remembered this book intensely. Sitting in Dad’s lap while he read us this story. Five years old, studying the pictures about a swamp witch who would capture children out trick or treating, turning them into ghosts to serve her eternally in the bogs.

IMG_4673 (40)IMG_4672 (39)IMG_4676IMG_4670Each page had something that I remembered so vividly, like this imps bulging eyes.

IMG_4681Carol Evans illustrations are reminiscent of Brian Froud, or my beloved John Bauer.

IMG_4678The eerie side profile of the mask covering the witch’s face, disguised as their mother.

IMG_4677The child dressed as a wolf in blue pajamas looking at us. The tree spirits peering down.

IMG_4669They hunt the children but ultimately fail to catch them and return to the swamp till next Halloween.

IMG_4674Hag Head fills me with nostalgia, sits somewhere in my solar plexus and reminds me to slow down and look around.

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6 comments
  1. wow those are awesome pictures– I really like the kid in the wolf costume looking at the reader.

    • lysette said:

      Evans totally gets a windy coastal feel in the pictures -there were heaps more, I had a hard time picking my favorites. It’s a great story, sort of scary but the witches minions are mostly bumbling and mess it all up. And there’s a black cat named ‘Drizzle’ that hangs out with the kids and kind of saves the day. Rediscovering childhood things is the best. I get a really expansive, grounded feeling from it 🙂

  2. FoodFeud said:

    Holy crap, I’ve never heard of this book before but it sounds so cool! What amazing pictures. I totally would have pulled anything off the shelf with “Hag” in the title. I have a hag patch on my jeans that are falling apart, I’ve got to take it off and find a safer place for it.

    • lysette said:

      That sounds like a wicked patch… I have a vague recollection of you posting a picture of it. Hag Head was published in 1980. Susan Musgrave is one of British Columbia’s most recognized poets but we’re a small drop in the ocean of the States so it’s not too surprising you haven’t heard of her -or at least this one kids book she wrote. It was satisfying to re-read, maybe now that it’s on your radar it’ll find you!

  3. tavis said:

    whoa blast from the past! what a great book! made all the more chilling that Susan’s husband would force me off the road and shoot the window out of the car next to me during his relapsed bank heist getaway in 1999!

    • lysette said:

      oh my god I totally forgot about that!!

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