My wife remembers this book from her childhood as being her favourite book so she bought it for our 7-year-old daughter and we read it over several nights. My daughter also liked it and said it was "really fun".
The story starts with the unnamed boy narrator (at the beginning where the main characters are introduced he is simply called "boy") being told about witches by his grandmama. But "this is not a fairy-tale" she is telling. "This is about REAL WITCHES" and "real witches hate children." They disguise themselves as women and make children disappear.
The grandmother is funny because she is so un-grandma-like as she puffs away on her black cigar.
After that bout of story-telling the book sees the boy come into contact with real witches. Not just one witch though as he gets stuck in a room with about 200 of them. He has to hide but witches can smell children out, and do just that. This is where the real witching begins and the dastardly things they do comes to the fore.
All-in-all a classic Roald Dahl tale with the scary enemy potentially being anywhere, hence a child's imagination running wild.
Original publication date: October 1st 1983
Amazon UK link: The Witches