Thursday, September 22, 2022

Today's read... If Your Babysitter is a Bruja by Ana Siqueira

 It's not October yet, but I'm already getting into the Halloween mood. I'm not usually into spooky, witchy, or whatever-that-season-holds reads quite yet, but then, with the never-ending high temperatures, I'm longing for cooler days much more than usual, too. (Can you believe it's 96 degrees outside?) Yeah, no coloring leaves and hot drinks here, yet. So sad.

Anyway, here's a little dreaming of broomsticks and fun in a not-so-spooky-pre-Halloween-season read.

by Ana Siqueira
Illustrated by Irena Freitas
Simon & Schuster
Picture Books
32 pages
ages 4 to 8

This bouncy, bilingual picture book is an enchanting, rollicking read-aloud for small ones with big imaginations.

On the night before Halloween, a new babysitter might be more than she appears. If she wears a black sombrero and cackles like a crow, she might just be a bruja! One little girl is determined not to fall victim to an evil witch or her cats. She knows bath time is really the bruja’s way of putting her in a boiling cauldron, and the only way to keep her at bay is with a magic potion—or is it?

With a boundless imagination and plenty of tricks up her sleeve, the young protagonist may just have the best night ever!



Babysitter woes carry a witchy twist, which guarantees a tiny dose of scares and more than a few unexpected surprises.

While the well-done bilingual side of this read already makes it worth a peek, it goes beyond that with its spell for fun. This child is anything but excited about the new babysitter, and the imagination goes wild before the babysitter walks through the door. Or does it?

This book allows imagination to filter into reality until the two are impossible to decipher or keep apart. The witch...umm bruja...holds all sorts of tricks in that black sombrero and knows more than a few potions to keep children in line. Still, her hidden smile during all those wicked moments keeps the readers wondering how much evil is behind the mystical moments. The child, though, definitely has their hands full as they try to outwit the bruja and survive. It creates a fun scene with unexpected twist and unexpected turn from one page to the next. Giggles, gasps, ooos and ahhhsss are guaranteed.

The illustrations let the magic shine and bring in tons of witchy moments, letting the reader sink into every scene. Even here, reality mixes with imagination to make the reader forget which side they might be on. Plus, the details are a treat.

And the bilingual side cannot be forgotten. Spanish words dribble in here and there. Never are they defined but simply used every now and then in a way that readers will automatically understand what they mean even if they've never heard the word before. Many of them are close enough to their English counterparts to make guessing easy and remembering even simpler. Young readers can easily adapt these into their own word usage.

It's a cute picture book and is a fun, educational read.

And here they are...

Ana Siqueira is an award-winning author from Brazil who cackles but doesn’t wear hats. When not flying with brujas, she teaches Spanish to adorable little ones, where she casts a learning spell that nobody can resist. Besides Bella’s Recipe for Success and If Your Babysitter Is a Bruja, Ana has also published a Spanish early reader for the education market. She loves being an abuela and a vovó to her Cuban-Brazilian American grandkids. She lives in Florida with her husband, who just might be a wizard.

Irena Freitas is an award-winning artist and illustrator. She has an MFA in illustration from SCAD and loves illustrating people, funny situations that happen in daily life, and whimsical stories. When she is not reading and illustrating books she likes to travel and visit new places. Irena lives in Manaus, Brazil.

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