Winnie the Witch (ISBN 0192726838) is an award-winning children's picture book of thirty-two pages. It was first published in the United Kingdom in 1987. The story is by the Australian-born author Valerie Thomas and the illustrations are by the Zimbabwean-born artist Korky Paul.
The book tells the humorous story of a witch named Winnie who has difficulty seeing her black cat Wilbur. The reason for this is because Winnie's house is completely black and all of her furniture is black too. Winnie twice attempts to solve this problem by waving her wand, saying the magic word "Abracadabra" and changing Wilbur's color. Although Winnie manages to change her cat's color, there are unforeseen consequences.
The book has spawned a number of sequels.
Winnie the Witch lives in a house that is entirely black on the outside and on the inside. The carpets are black. All of her furniture is black. Her bed, its sheets and blankest are black. Consequently, when Winnie's black cat Wilbur closes his green eyes, she cannot see him. As a result, she often accidentally sits on him and trips over him.
After tripping over Wilbur one day, Winnie decides to use her magic to make him clearly visible. She changes Wilbur's color to green. She then has no trouble seeing him inside the house. When Wilbur goes outside and sits on the grass, however, Winnie cannot see him at all. To solve this problem, Winnie changes Wilbur's color again. She gives him a red head, a yellow body, a pink tail, blue whiskers and purple legs. Winnie has no difficulty seeing Wilbur inside or outside. Wilbur, however, knows that he looks ridiculous and feels miserable as a result. He climbs to the top of the tallest tree to hide.
Winnie loves Wilbur and hates to see him feeling miserable. She uses her magic to make him black again. So that she will be able to see Wilbur, Winnie magically changes her house from a black one to a yellow one with a red roof. She also changes the colors of her carpets, her bed and all of her furniture.
Sequels and spin-offs
A further seventeen picture books based around the characters of Winnie the Witch and Wilbur, written by Valerie Thomas and illustrated by Korky Paul, were published between 1996 and 2017. A "young fiction" series of nineteen short story anthologies, aimed at slightly older children than the picture books, has also been published. The black and white illustrations in the "young fiction" books are by Korky Paul but the short stories are credited as having been written by Laura Owen.
An animated TV series based on the books debuted on Discovery Kids in Latin America on December 17, 2016 and on Channel 5 in the United Kingdom on December 24, 2016.