If Your Babysitter is a Bruja (Ana Siqueira)

Hello, friends! Our book today is If Your Babysitter is a Bruja, written by Ana Siqueira and illustrated by Irena Freitas, a delightful multilingual Halloween tale.

Beware, kiddos: Halloween is approaching and magic is in the air. That’s one of the reasons that the unnamed child narrator of our story suspects that her new babysitter is not all that she appears to be. In fact, with a black sombrero, sus gatazos, and a decidedly witchy style, it’s almost certain: the new babysitter is a bruja! Fortunately, she appears to be a good witch, for while the child playfully “defends” herself against the bruja, it’s all in good fun – until the play crosses a line, and the child feels guilty that she may have offended her new spooky pal. Can she make amends for her behavior?

Wonderful! Siqueira and Freitas combine their talents to create an entertaining and unexpected Halloween tale. The tone of the story is light-hearted and humorous from the jump, with the illustrations presenting the bruja babysitter as a friendly figure that the child is enjoying her playtime with, even as the text teases a battle of wits between the babysitter and child. The text also nicely straddles the question of whether or not the bruja’s powers are real or the product of imaginative play, leaving young readers to draw their own conclusions. What makes the text truly special is the flawless use of Spanglish; while unitalicized Spanish words are given context by their surroundings for monolingual English speakers, for dual-language speakers, the flow between both languages is effortless and a joy to read aloud. Cheerful illustrations that utilize an autumnal/Día de los Muertos-inspired palette complete the experience. The length is perfect for a storytime, JJ and I both loved the silly and spooky theme. Overall, this is a fantastic addition to Halloween bookshelves that combines culture, comedy, and kindness, and we highly recommend it! Baby Bookworm approved!

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)