Readers’ Remarks

Jodie on Sun 26 Sep 2010
Baked Beans for Breakfast

I hated reading when I was younger. I struggled to read and didn’t get it. It was the summer before 6th grade that I was just completely bored. I decided look through some of the books that my sister and I got from our cousins. That was when I started reading and never stopped. One of those first books was “Baked Beans for Breakfast”. I loved it and was always one of my favorites. Ruth Chew is one of the authors that helped me to love reading.

JS on Tue 24 Aug 2010
Utterly delightful!

I just really loved reading Ruth Chew in the the 70’s growing up. My son is enjoying them this summer immensely. I have such an affection for them and am surprised and saddened to learn they are out of print. Hopefully that will change at some point. They are timeless.

Andrea on Sun 15 Aug 2010
Love her books

Ruth Chew was a favorite author of mine when was I was younger – I read most of her books several times. Recently I bought quite a few books for my children to read ( and for me to reread 🙂 ) Great imagination

scott on Wed 11 Aug 2010
witch stories

i recall reading several of these books when i was a child in the early seventies. i found them entertaining and amusing.

Matt on Wed 11 Aug 2010
Do It Yourself Magic

I have been a huge fan of Ruth Chew’s works since I was a kid in the 80’s. I scored a copy of “Do It Yourself Magic” from a book order in 1st grade and had to have read it a hundred times. It is my favorite of her works. Throughout grade school I moved around a lot and every teacher I ever had, had at least 5 Ruth Chew books I had not read. So it was always great, in those awkward new school moments, to have some new Ruth Chew material to read time and time again. Now here I am in my late 20’s scouring yard sales, thrift stores and book sales for all the Ruth Chew titles, and various editions of said titles, that I can get my paws on. I could just order them online, but that kind of takes the mystique of finding them away. RIP Ruth, you rocked my 80’s and 90’s., and still rock me today!

Laura on Sun 01 Aug 2010
passing the love

My 6 year old son is currently reading as many of Ruth’s wonderful books as he can find. Luckily my mother kept all of my childhood copies. I came here to tell Ruth Chew that another generation is in love with her stories. So sad to hear that she has passed on. Her stories will pass on to the following generations. Yes, it would be lovely to see the books in local bookstores. She really understood the way the small child dreams of adventure.

Paula on Fri 23 Jul 2010
Baked Beans for Breakfast

I am 40 years old now and remember reading Baked Beans for Breakfast when I was a child. In fact, it was the very first book I read cover to cover.

Ruth on Thu 08 Jul 2010
mystery solved!!

My sister and I are in our 30’s and we both remembered parts of the story Earthstar magic. For awhile we have been trying to remeber the actual name and author of the book we read as a child. Today I saw a book for sale in passing by Ruth Chew and I wondered if she was the author of the book we were trying to remember. Thanks to this website, the mystery is solved. Ruth wrote such wonderful books that we remeber the stories even as grown ups! Now I can share the book with my daughter!

Laura on Thu 27 May 2010
I love Ruth Chew books

I loved Ruth Chew books when I was little and I saved all of my books for my daughter who is now nine years old. I was sorry to see Ruth recently passed. I think they should start selling her books in stores again. They are so much better than most of what is out there now.

Stephanie on Mon 24 May 2010

Thank you so much for putting together this website. However, I was so sad to open it up this morning and read that she just died. I have been wanting to write her a fan letter for a few years and now I’ve missed my chance. She was such a neat lady. My sister and I grew up reading her books – they are exactly as you describe – gentle. I always loved her illustrations, too. I hope Scholastic and her family will consider getting her work reprinted – it is so wonderful.

Steve on Fri 21 May 2010
Ruth’s Books

I remember the first Ruth Chew book that I had the pleasure to read. When I was a child I found a copy of “What the Witch Left” at a yard sale. I read it and was quickly hooked! The story was so much fun and well written. As an adult I now have a collection of her books and cannot wait until my son is old enough to introduce him to the wonderful stories that I have set aside. I am sorry that Ruth has passed on, but she has left a wonderful legacy for many children.

Elaine on Mon 02 May 2011

I’d love to be able to buy ebook versions of all the Ruth Chew titles. If there is any information on when/where/how this might be available, I would be very grateful.
Thank you!

Karen on Mon 24 Jan 2011
Fans of Ruth Chew might also like these books

I love Ruth Chew’s books and still have a big stack of them from my childhood. Since then my younger brother and my children have enjoyed them. If you love books about everyday children suddenly finding themselves caught up in exciting magical adventures I recommend that you check out E. Nesbit’s books. She was a British writer at the turn of the 20th century and her books are a joy to read for both kids and adults. Her books are at a higher reading level than Ruth Chew’s books and make a great next step for kids who are looking for a more challenging read along the same lines. Some of her fantasy titles are:

1. Five Children and It
2. The Phoenix and the Carpet
3. The Story of the Amulet
(series of 3)

1. The House of Arden
2. Harding’s Luck
(series of 2)

The Enchanted Castle (my personal favorite)
The Magic City
Wet Magic
The Magic World
The Book of Dragons

She also wrote several amusing non-fantasy childrens novels including

1. The Story of the Treasure Seekers
2. The Wouldbegoods
3. New Treasure Seekers
4. Oswald Bastable and Others
(series of 4)

The Railway Children (NOT to be confused with The Boxcar Children!)
Five of us and Madeline

Another great author of Ruth Chew style books is Edward Eager. He was actually a huge E. Nesbit fan and frequently refers to her books in his stories. He wrote

Half Magic
Magic By the Lake
(series of 2)

Knight’s Castle
The Time Garden
(series of 2)

Magic or Not
The Well Wishers
(series of 2)

Seven Day Magic

Do any other Ruth Chew fans have other children’s authors to recommend?

amanda on Tue 11 Jan 2011
sorry for your loss We Lost A Classic Ladie

I just came across this site for the first time
i must say to you
i loved Ruth Chew’s Books as an child and now an adult at 35
i was praying to God when i went to some yard sales and a church sale
this past summer to find just 1 of her books
I came home and cried I was so happy
and a Beautiful Summer day,
i came home sat on my porch swing and read the Wednesday Witch
i was so happy
she was a wonderful writer, i wish i had an opportunity to meet with her before she went to be with Jesus
God Bless you all
They need the excitement and the wonder and
To use there imagination
thanks Ruth Chew, for the books you wrote and your illustration in other books
and May you be With Jesus
See You someday in Heaven, it will be my pleasure to someday get to meet you

Ann on Sun 12 Dec 2010
Loved them in the 70’s

The first “chapter book” I read all by myself was the Wednesday Witch when I was in first grade. I was quickly hooked on all Ruth Chew books. I couldn’t wait for the monthly Scholastic book order to come. There was always a Ruth Chew title in there. I read all her books through grade school. I remember re-reading so many when I was in 7th and 8th grade and I was amazed at how fast I could re-read them. I just bought a copy of Wednesday Witch online for my daughter who is in 2nd grade. Let’s see these books back in print!!!!!!

Nancy on Tue 07 Sep 2010

I was a friend of Ruth’s daughter Helen growing up in Brooklyn and have fond memories of Halloween parties in the living room of the wonderful limestone house on east 5th street as well as visiting their summer place in Hawley, Pa.. There was always an aura of magic and fantasy in their home and now as a grown-up I have vivid memories of the wonderful moments I spent with Helen and her family, memories I will never forget. I am very sad to learn of her mothers passing but I am hoping that her spirit and soul are at in as beautiful a place as I felt I was whenever I visited them in their home.

Sonya on Tue 31 Aug 2010
love Ruth Chew books

I read them so long ago, checking them out of the library at my school in 2-4th grades if my memory serves me. I am sorry to hear that Ruth Chew has passed away. I know nothing of her, only that I enjoyed her books so much that reading her books gave me as much enjoyment as reading any other of the popular books at the time: Nancy Drew series, Anne of Green Gables, Beverly Cleary, etc. But when I speak of Ruth Chew, I am always surprised with how few know of these great books. I am now on the hunt to buy her books for my 9 year old niece. I can’t remember which were my favorites. I enjoyed so many. The Wednesday Witch, The Magic Buttons, Would Be Witch, What the Witch Left, The Magic Coin. Maybe when my niece is finished, I will ask her to loan them to me for a re-read session. Wonder what they would be like thirty years later! I hope they will be republished someday soon.

lenona on Wed 09 Jun 2010
Memories So sorry she’s gone.

I LOVE “Baked Beans for Breakfast,” aka “Secret Summer,” in part because of its portrait of the polite old woman vs. the mean babysitter who only likes children under a certain age.

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, about two runaways. Especially considering that they meet an old woman in a big old house, later!

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!”

I am APPALLED there is only one entry for Chew (in 1975?) in over 190 volumes of the “Something About the Author” encyclopedia series. Especially since she wrote about two-thirds of her books after that! Writers more obscure than she have received two entries, and I think Maurice Sendak has four to date.

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!” (grin)

Kat on Sat 05 Jun 2010
RIP Ruth Chew

I am so happy to find this web site, yet saddened to learn that one of my most favourite author of children’s books has passed away. I was a child in the 1970s and I loved her books when I was little! I found “The Wednesday Witch” in my class library in 2nd grade and became a fan right there. I voraciously read whatever books I could find or buy through the Scholastic Book Club. She wrote about everything I loved…magic, witches, cats, children on adventures and Brooklyn. I was born and grew up in Brooklyn and so enjoyed reading about children who lived where I lived. I could relate and was completely engaged in her stories!

I wish she was more widely known and that her books could be introduced to young readers of today because I’m sure they would be enjoyed by children today as much as they were by me when I was in grammar school. I am so glad there is a web site now about her and her books. I have spent years trying to find information on the internet about her life and was always disappointed that there was little to no information about the author of so many wonderful books. Hopefully, children will learn of her books now and treasure them as much as I did in the 1970s. Her stories were timeless!

Laura on Sun 30 May 2010
What The Witch Left was always my favorite

I have been a long-time fan of Ruth Chew’s books since I was a child (in the 70s) and I was sad to hear that Ruth had just passed away, but what a long life she had! It’s amazing how little information is out there for fans of her books, so this website is very welcome.

My favorite book is “What the Witch Left.” I can remember buying it at school through a scholastic book sale, and I still have that same copy now, almost 30 years later. I enjoyed the different magic items Katy found in the dresser drawer and her adventures with Louise. I can remember it being an unusual book, and it stood out in my mind many years later, when I decided to track down more of Ruth’s books.

It’s sad that they are out of print, as I thought that her books were always a good read, and always held my interest. Thankfully, fans can easily find books on ebay or If the Ruth’s books were reprinted, I would hope they would use her artwork. I didn’t like the “updated” cover art on many of the paperback titles reprinted in the late 80s or early 90s.

Steve on Fri 21 May 2010
Favorite Ruth Chew Book

My favorite book is still “What the Witch Left”. It was my first and purchased at a yard sale. I have several packed away for when my son is old enough to share them with him.

Julia on Tue 15 Jun 2010
Fav Chew Book

I recently found The Wednesday Witch in an old trunk where I keep my favorite children’s books. I read it again %26 remembered how much I loved it. I was in the scholastic book club at school %26 my mom bought it for me. My copy has to be around 33 years old. I did a search for Ruth Chew on Amazon %26 purchased 5 more of her books. I’m a certified Librarian and I can’t wait to read her whole collection! Thanks for this site.

Dina on Mon 17 May 2010
Favorite books

Ruth Chew was one of my favorite authors when I was young. My favorite stories were The Witch’s Buttons and What the Witch left. I have started collecting more of her books so that my children can read them.