I picked this up because it was on the top of the bookcase at the Library! (that's the Boise Public Library) as one of the Young Adult Choice Nominees. The Young Adult Choice award is sponsored and organized by the International Reading Association. There is also a Children's Choice and Teacher's Choice award each year.
Enter Three Witches started out with some reading challenges. Cooney drops in some hints at events that she doesn't explain until much later in the book. If teachers are going to use this as a small group or whole class read this provides a perfect opportunity to teach students about holding an idea in mind and trusting the author to provide the details later on. The device of "dropping" ideas is very common in mystery/detective writing. If it is explained to students this way most can learn to hold an incomplete idea for several chapters.
Cooney creates a new character, Lady Mary, who enriches the overall story and provides details of medieval life that would not be available through Shakespeare. Because of Lady Mary's contribution to the book I am now prompted to do some nonfiction reading about Scotland in the 16th century.
Throughout the book there are quotations and some dialogue from Shakespeare's play. Although I didn't actually get up and pull out my complete Shakespeare, I'm likely to look at it later tonight.
About a third of the way through the book I got hooked on Cooney's story line and her "added" plot lines to the story of Macbeth. Since I am not a "read the ending first"reader (I don't peak), I didn't know about Cooney's author's note at the end of the book. This is another bit that teachers may want to guide readers to before they begin reading. Understanding Cooney's research process might make the reading of the book richer for young adults.
Although the Lexile rating would suggest an easier reading YA book I'm going to recommend it for older or mature readers. The quotations and correlations with the Shakespeare play is going to make the reading a bit challenging for younger/less developed readers.
Novelist Interest Rating 8-12 grades