2020-04-08 20:19:07 UTC
Incredibly, there don't seem to be any tributes - but at least I found this, from March:
You have to scroll almost all the way down.
"Random House to Reissue Ruth Chew's Fantasy Oeuvre" (from 2013)
Most of what I posted in 2010:
(short death notice)
When you read her work, you can't help but groan: "She makes it look so EASY to write
chapter books for 8-year-olds!"
She'd lived in Brooklyn much of her life but, for health reasons, had
to move to northern California in early 2001 to be near her daughter.
All(?) of her books at least start in Brooklyn.
"Baked Beans for Breakfast" is about two Brooklyn kids, maybe aged 9
and 11, who trick their rotten, mean babysitter into thinking they've
gone to be with their grandmother for the summer when, in fact,
they've run away and gone to the usual woodsy camp site in Hawley,
Pennsylvania (their parents are in Europe).
On the back cover:
"Joe, we shouldn't have run away!" Kathleen was suddenly afraid. But
her brother knew there was no turning back now. Every minute the bus
was taking them farther away from their home in Brooklyn.
"Just think, Kath," Joe said. "We can camp out at the lake all by
ourselves. It will be a lot more fun than staying in the city all
"A lot more fun," thought Kathleen, "and a lot more scary!"
And on page 6:
"Joe wondered if it had been a mistake to bring Kathleen. She was two
years younger than he was, and she could be such a nuisance. But
Kathleen had begged to come along.
"She pointed out that she had much more money than he - saved up for
years in her enormous china pig."
Since the book was published in 1970, I can't help but wonder, after
reading that, if Chew wasn't doing a gender twist on a very famous
book, from three years earlier, which is alsoabout two runaways who
later meet with an old woman in a big house!
But, of course, all the other circumstances are quite different.
I LOVE that book, in part because of its portrait of the polite old
woman vs. the mean babysitter who only likes children under a certain
age, and I wish she'd written one more non-fantasy book, but the
fantasies are fine too, of course. My favorite is "What the Witch
Left" because of her description of the Mexican marketplace and her
subtle portrait of Pilar's bargaining tactics - she speaks fast and
loudly to the boy vendor who's her age, quietly to the young Mexican
man, and she plays dumb with the American customer.
The fast-paced "No Such Thing as a Witch" is fun too, though the
description on the back scared me away from reading it for a while:
"Watch out for Maggie Brown—the new next-door neighbor! And beware of
Maggie's homemade fudge!
Maggie is NOT an ordinary person.
Her fudge is NOT ordinary fudge.
One piece of the fudge makes you love animals.
If you eat two pieces of fudge you will understand animal language.
Three pieces make you act like an animal.
And if you eat four pieces… HELP!"
(includes covers and descriptions - includes spoilers)
(photo and bio)
(Includes a few covers by foreign(?) illustrators. Her books have
been translated into Japanese and Spanish.)
(reader reviews and more)
From the S.A.T.A. entry:
"When my children were small I told them stories to stop them crying
or to induce them to eat. I confess to being an imitator of E.
Nesbit...I speak pigeon French and have travelled extensively. I
collect, identify, and consume wild mushrooms."
The Wednesday Witch, Scholastic Book Services, 1969.
Baked Beans for Breakfast, Scholastic Book Services, 1970, published
as The Secret Summer, 1974.
No Such Thing as a Witch, Scholastic Book Services, 1971.
Magic in the Park, Scholastic Book Services, 1972.
What the Witch Left, Scholastic Book Services, 1973.
The Hidden Cave, Scholastic Book Services, 1973, published as The
Magic Cave, Hastings House, 1978.
The Witch's Buttons, Scholastic Book Services, 1974.
The Secret Tree House, Scholastic Book Services, 1974.
Witch in the House, Scholastic Book Services, 1975.
The Would-Be Witch, Scholastic Book Services, 1976.
The Trouble with Magic, Scholastic Book Services, 1976.
Summer Magic, Scholastic Book Services, 1977.
Witch's Broom, Dodd, 1977.
The Witch's Garden, Scholastic Book Services, 1978.
Earthstar Magic, Scholastic Book Services, 1979.
The Wishing Tree, Hastings House, 1980.
Secondhand Magic, Holiday House, 1981.
Mostly Magic, Holiday House, 1982.
The Magic Coin, Scholastic, Inc., 1983.
The Witch at the Window, Scholastic, Inc., 1984.
Trapped in Time, Scholastic, Inc., 1986.
Do It Yourself Magic, Scholastic, Inc., 1987.
The Witch and the Ring, Scholastic, Inc., 1989.
Magic of the Black Mirror, Scholastic, Inc., 1990.
Wrong Way Around Magic, Scholastic, 1993.
Witch's Cat, The (1994)
Last Chance for Magic (1996)
Magic of the Black Mirror (1996)
The Enchanted Book (1998)
Carol Morse, Three Cheers for Polly, Doubleday, 1967.
E. W. Hildick, The Questers, Hawthorn, 1970.
Val Abbott, The Mystery of the Ghost Bell, Dodd, 1971.
Ann McGovern, Shark Lady, Scholastic Book Services, 1978.
Here's a REAL obituary, at last, with an interesting B&W photo from
"Ruth Chew wrote about witches and wizards and covens and broomsticks
and black cats, but have no fear of these witches," wrote a fan, Lucy
Day of Singapore, on a Ruth Chew Web site after Mrs. Chew's death. "If
anything, they will teach young readers the values of friendship,
independence and self-esteem, since that's what the books are really
...Mrs. Chew graduated from high school at age 16,
excelling in every subject but math because "she didn't believe 2 plus
2 equals 4," her daughter wrote...