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This article is written from a real world point of view and so is not considered part of The Worst Witch universe.

The Worst Witch to the Rescue
Wwbook6
Author Jill Murphy
Published 2007
Pages 172
ISBN ISBN 9780141383019
Previous The Worst Witch Saves The Day
Next The Worst Witch and the Wishing Star

The Worst Witch to the Rescue is the sixth book in The Worst Witch book series by Jill Murphy. The book was published in 2007 and features Ethel Hallow's only friend, Drusilla Paddock in a largely increased role since her brief cameo in The Worst Witch All At Sea.

Plot

Ethel Hallow is returning to Miss Cackle's Academy for Witches for the Summer Term of her third year. Miss Hardbroom had previously set them a holiday project, but Ethel is doing exactly what Miss Hardbroom told them not to do: trying to think up a project in five minutes flat on the way back to school. Ethel spots Mildred Hubble crash-landed in a tree and manages to help her steady herself. Mildred explains her project to Ethel: a spell that can make animals talk.

A spell that can only work on animals that fit into 25 centimetres and a spell that only lasts for two weeks before the animal becomes mute forever. When helping Mildred out of the tree, Ethel lurches backwards and knocks Mildred's luggage out of the tree. While Mildred tries to get Tabby, who had scampered up the tree, Ethel scoops up Mildred's project folder and art bag and her 30 coloured pencils. On the way there, Mildred finds her friends Maud Moonshine and Enid Nightshade. Mildred tells them about Ethel being nice for a change and Enid suggests she took a "niceness course" since she takes a lot of courses during the holidays. Maud and Enid soon become suspicious when they catch Mildred talking to someone or something in her cat basket, something which isn't Tabby.

The girls meet the new art teacher, Miss Mould, a teacher who is described as having a "soft and kindly" voice and "short mousy hair parted in the middle and pulled into a ponytail at her neck". She is a great relief from the horrifically strict Miss Hardbroom and the extremely weird Miss Granite whom they had had the term before. Mildred sits next to Drusilla Paddock who swaps places with Ethel after Miss Mould tells Ethel her coils are too short. Minutes later, a maraca-like noise echoes through the classroom. Mildred peers under her desk but finds nothing. She looks up, only to find that her coils have turned into five rapidly-maximizing rattlesnakes. Springing into action, Miss Mould gets the whole class outside whilst Ethel stays inside and evaporates the rattlesnakes. Just as the snakes are gone, Miss Hardbroom appears and Miss Mould explains what happens. Thinking Mildred is responsible for the snake incident Miss Hardbroom sends Mildred to her room and bans Mildred from art lessons for the rest of the term. Mildred runs to her room where she figures out it must have been Ethel who turned her pot and coils into the snakes out of jealousy.

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New Cover

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Paperback Cover

The next day, in a potions lesson with Miss Hardbroom, the girls are presenting their projects to the class. Ethel goes first but her project is the same as Mildred's. Mildred jumps up and shouts to Miss Hardbroom that Ethel had stolen her project. Miss Hardbroom opens Mildred's project folder but finds not Mildred's project but lots of sheets of paper with smiley faces drawn on them in different colours. Miss Hardbroom "transfers" Mildred to her room. Later, after Maud and Enid bring her a scone/rock cake, Mildred finds that the creature inside her cat basket, a tortoise called Speedy whom she had used her spell on, can still speak.

She renames him as Einstein and Einstein tells Mildred that he overheard the conversation between Mildred and Ethel inside the tree. After Mildred runs off to tell Maud and Enid the good news, Mildred accidentally leaves her bedroom door open and Einstein escapes. Whilst plodding along the corridor he is discovered by Drusilla Paddock who takes him to Ethel's room. Whilst Ethel and Drusilla talk, is revealed that Ethel did indeed take Mildred's project and replaced it with the smiley-faced papers (which she had drawn on herself) and had also "tried out" a snake spell on Mildred's pot and coils in art. Einstein overhears everything. When they are taking Einstein back to Mildred, Ethel eavesdrops on a few words Mildred is telling Maud and Enid.

After discovering that Einstein can still speak and overheard the conversation between Ethel and Mildred about the project, and that Einstein only has one more day before the spell wears off and he becomes mute forever, Ethel orders Drusilla to get dressed again and hide Einstein in the hollow pine tree outside the school gates for two days to be on the safe side. During this, Einstein is put into a cardboard box which also contains a small green frog called Cyril, the animal whom Ethel had used in her demonstration. Cyril escapes from the box just before Drusilla heads off with it and hops off to Mildred's room where he is discovered by Mildred. 
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Cyril tells Mildred that Drusilla hid Einstein in the hollow pine tree outside the school gates and that he overheard several conversations about stealing projects and turning pots into snakes. After releasing Cyril into the woods, Mildred gets on her broomstick and, during a violent thunderstorm, finds and rescues Einstein. When she lands she is confronted by Miss Hardbroom who takes Mildred and Einstein inside and, after hearing part of the incidents from Mildred, tells Mildred to have a bath and sets an interview with Mildred and Ethel the next morning. The next morning, Mildred goes to Miss Cackle's office where Einstein, resting in Miss Cackle's overflowing in-tray, awakes and tells Miss Cackle and Miss Hardbroom that he overheard the conversation between Ethel and Mildred in the tree.

He also says that he heard Ethel telling Drusilla that she had tried out a snake spell on Mildred's pot and coils and had taken Mildred's project, copied it out in her own writing, and then thrown it in the kitchen bins. Ethel sifts through the rubbish and eventually finds Mildred's tea-stained project. To punish Ethel, Miss Hardbroom makes Ethel apologise to Mildred in assembly in front of the whole year where Mildred does forgive her. During a broomstick-flying lesson, Mildred reveals to Maud and Enid that Miss Cackle had provided Miss Mould's classroom with a proper kiln and craft room and she also got to keep Einstein as a pet. Just as the clock strikes midday, Mildred sprints into her room and hears Einstein speak for the last time in his raspy little voice, ("I'm glad I belong to you") before munching on his carrot and going silent forever.

Trivia

  • A teacher similar to Miss Mould called Miss Lynne Lamplighter appears in the TV series in the episode "Art Wars". Though, Miss Mould was a permanent teacher, Miss Lamplighter was only there temporarily for Art Week. Ethel turned Mildred's pot into five rattlesnakes, in "Art Wars" Ethel turned Mildred herself into a statue. Ethel also did try to sabotage Mildred's attempts by making some of her sketches blow away. Instead of getting an art classroom with a kiln, Mildred is given free extra art lessons with Miss Lamplighter.
  • Drusilla Paddock previously appeared briefly in The Worst Witch All at Sea.
  • The hardback version of this book has raindrops on the cover, while the paperback has stars like the other books.

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