Form and Content

(Survey of Young Adult Fiction)

The Wish Giver: Three Tales of Coven Tree begins with a discussion of the presence of witches and witchcraft in the New England states since Colonial times. This evil presence pervades the story as, one by one, three young people fall under its spell. The name of the village—Coven Tree—conjures up witches. Even the dark sketches by Andrew Glass scattered throughout the book add to the feeling of evil.

When Thaddeus Blinn sets up a tent at the Coven Tree Church Social, his advertisement states, “I can give you whatever you ask for only 50 C.” Despite his enticing claim, only four people enter his tent. They include Stew Meat, the owner of the Coven Tree General Store and the narrator of the story; Polly Kemp, an eleven-year-old girl who always speaks her mind, even when her words hurt others; Rowena Jervis, a fifteen-year-old girl who believes that she is in love with a traveling salesman who has enthralled her with his stories of travel all over the world; and Adam Fiske, a sixteen-year-old boy whose family’s farm suffers from drought and who must haul tubs of water from the creek to their home. Before Blinn lets them leave his tent, he warns them that each wish that he gives them “will be granted exactly as you ask for it.” As soon as they leave, Blinn packs up his tent and leaves the area.

Polly only has two friends who will play with her because of her habit of speaking without thinking. She desperately wants to be...

(The entire section is 549 words.)