This novel is on the American Library Association list of the 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books of 1990–2000 at number 23. Reasons given include the book's references to witches and crystal balls, the claim that it "challenges religious beliefs", and the listing of Jesus "with the names of great artists, philosophers, scientists, and religious leaders".
A 2004 study found that it was a common read-aloud book for sixth-graders in schools in San Diego County, California. Based on a 2007 online poll, the National Education Association named the book one of its "Teachers' Top 100 Books for Children." It was one of the "Top 100 Chapter Books" of all time in a 2012 poll by School Library Journal.