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.
Each page had something that I remembered so vividly, like this imps bulging eyes.
Carol Evans illustrations are reminiscent of Brian Froud, or my beloved John Bauer.
The eerie side profile of the mask covering the witch’s face, disguised as their mother.
The child dressed as a wolf in blue pajamas looking at us. The tree spirits peering down.
They hunt the children but ultimately fail to catch them and return to the swamp till next Halloween.
Hag Head fills me with nostalgia, sits somewhere in my solar plexus and reminds me to slow down and look around.