Earwig and the Witch by Diana Wynne Jones and Paul Zelinsky (Illustrator)

Earwig never wanted to be adopted,

In fact, she disliked it so much that she figured out a way to make herself unlikeable whenever prospective adopters presented themselves before her. This was because she felt quite comfortable and in control at the orphanage where she was left early one morning many years ago with a cryptic note that read:

For some inexplicable reason, she can get everyone at the orphanage to do exactly what she wants in precisely the manner she wants them done. This holds not just for her best friend ‘Custard’ but for all the leading staff at the orphanage as well.

When an odd couple visits the orphanage one day, everything changes abruptly as the couple who are seemingly immune to Earwig willies would choose specifically to adopt Earwig, though not for altruistic reasons.

You see, the odd couple was actually a mandrake in disguise along with a stern witch who wants a second set of cheap helping hands for her potion creation and other chores.

On arriving home with Earwig, the witch first tries to preemptively assert her authority over Earwig, only for Earwig to subvert her expectation by wholeheartedly accepting all her demands deftly.

Though she does cleverly ask for one thing in return for her cooperation- this was for the witch to teach her magic, which she had always felt a need to explore within the back of her mind. The witch grudgingly agrees to this.

Initially, they can coexist with each other. However, what soon follows is a cute short story that builds up quite nicely with a tense progression of attrition between Earwig and the witch, which leads them to increase the dramatic and entertaining lengths they are willing to travel to earn a victory over other.

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