Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Review - Snitchy Witch

Snitchy Witch
by Frank J. Sileo
illustrated by MacKenzie Haley
Date: 2019
Publisher: Magination Press
Reading level: C
Book type: picture book
Pages: 32
Format: e-book
Source: NetGalley

"Oh moon so full, round, and bright
We beg one favor of you tonight
For witches who tattle, witches who snitch,
Tie their tongues, zip their lips!
No witch shall squeal or tell on friends.
This spell will be broken when the snitching ends!"

Tattling is an all too familiar occurrence among children that can have harmful impacts on friends and relationships. This spellbinding story encourages children to examine the difference between snitching and telling, and the impact of their words on others.

Includes a Note to Parents and Caregivers with more information about snitching versus telling and what adults can do to help.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

I do not like this. Not only is it potentially confusing, it's extremely frustrating and could reward bad behaviour in kids who manage to figure out the psychology you're using on them.

The premise here is that Wanda is a snitchy witch. She tattles on her friends until nobody wants to play with her. The others go even further, and cast a spell on Wanda so she won't be able to snitch.

The problem I have with this book is that the author defines as snitching anything that won't cause physical harm. So, stealing? Perfectly acceptable behaviour. Cutting in line? Who cares? Keeping people awake with noise? No big deal; I mean, it's just common courtesy, so it's optional. When there arises a potentially dangerous situation, Wanda is unable to say anything until she finds the exact right combination of words so that it doesn't sound like snitching. The other children who cast the spell on Wanda, rendering her unable to speak, are never punished, even though their behaviour really could have harmed someone.

I was curious as to this weird disconnect (I mean, why bother teaching children the rules if they're just going to be allowed to break them?), but something in the adults' note at the end caught my attention:

When safety is not an issue, do not punish the other child as it will reward and reinforce the snitching.

And herein lies the biggest problem I have with this book. Snitching is viewed as worse than breaking the rules, stealing, and even rendering someone mute with a spell! The child who is pointing out the bad behaviour of others is viewed as the villain, leaving the children engaging in the bad behaviour to continue with no repercussions.

And that's why I can't recommend this one.

Thank you to NetGalley and Magination Press for providing a digital ARC.

Premise: 2/5
Meter: n/a
Writing: 2/5
Illustrations: 3/5
Originality: 2/5

Enjoyment: 1/5

Overall: 1.83 out of 5

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