A ROUNDUP OF THE BEST NEW HANUKKAH BOOKS FOR KIDS 2023 REVIEWS: LATKE'S FIRST…
BRUNHILDA’S BACKWARDS DAY BLOG TOUR
Written and illustrated by Shawna J.C. Tenney
(Sky Pony Press; $16.99, Ages 3-8)
It’s day three of the Brunhilda’s Backwards Day Blog Tour and I’ve got this question to ask readers: What comes to mind when you think of a witch – someone mean and warty riding a broomstick and wearing a pointy hat, with a cat as a sidekick, and always up to no good? That sounds exactly like the witch in Brunhilda’s Backwards Day, the debut picture book from author and illustrator Shawna J.C. Tenney.
Tenney takes us through a typical Brunhilda day, from her start getting out of “the wrong side of the bed,” and putting on her ugliest outfit (because what witch do you know who wears designer dresses?), to finding great satisfaction in chanting troublesome spells:
Lumpy grumpy fly pie stew!!
hippity hoppity spew!
Oh the wickedly witchy things she concocts to annoy people! But it seems Brunhilda isn’t alone in brewing up mischief. Her feline friend, who all along appears rather reluctant to wreak havoc, has some plans of her own!!
When Bruhilda awakens the following day, her warts are gone, she has only oatmeal not spider mush to eat for breakfast, and horror of horrors, her ugly dress has turned into a “fluffy pink ball gown.” And try as she might to do all her awfulness, Brunhilda soon finds herself unable to be cruel. In fact she actually delights in bringing joy to the children and families she ordinarily would upset.
Seeing Brunhilda’s transformation in both words and illustrations is pure pleasure. There’s even an early foreshadowing Tenney’s included on the book’s title page illustration showing the wicked witch pouring water on her cat. Tenney’s text, in a fabulous font, is simple, and succinct. It’s surrounded by lots of lovely white space which also serves to contrast the empowering pink, pulsating purples and gorgeous greens in the artwork.
Brunhilda’s Backwards Day begs to be read aloud with a cackling voice and a crooked finger, while pointing out all the magical goings on in the vibrant artwork. I totally enjoyed this charming Halloween treat and have no doubt your kids will fall under Brunhilda’s happy spell.
- Reviewed by Ronna Mandel
Find out more about the blog tour here.