Saturday, October 30, 2021

Review - Diary of a Witch

Diary of a Witch

by Valeria Dávila & Mónica López
illustrated by Laura Aguerrebehere
Date: 2015
Publisher: CrackBoom! Books
Reading level: C
Book type: picture book
Pages: 34
Format: e-book
Source: NetGalley

Do all witches like to scare children, eat toad eyes and ride their brooms when the moon is full? Certainly not all! Peek under the pages of this personal diary and discover the secret thoughts of a witch who dreams of a little change in her life: to dare to wear pink, buy a swimsuit and go on vacation, and maybe just once be part of a fairy tale that ends well!

"Dear Diary,
I'm writing to tell you I'm weary.
I've been a wicked witch for too many years,
and it's making me teary."

Sprinkled with references to classic fairy tales, the Dear Diary series offers privileged access to the secret aspirations of mythical and often not-so-nice characters. Short rhythmic texts reveal the private and very funny musings of an ogre, a monster, a witch and a fairy.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

This seems like a great idea for a book... but it has a few problems.

First, it's a translation. Unfortunately, it's also a rhyming book, so the resulting rhythm is off. The other issue the translation brings up is in the illustrations. There are lots of labelled things (books, jars, bottles, etc.) and they were obviously changed from the original... but it's not seamless. In places, the labels just look like they were slapped in with a standard black font, and they stand out. This is a shame, because the illustrations are great! They're the best part of the book: silly, goofy, and full of emotion and fun.

Second, the format of the book is supposed to be a diary, so there's no real progression of events... and this leads to a bit of confusion. The witch talks about how she's tired of being a scary witch and would rather get a job as a fairy and live in a castle or something. But immediately after that, she starts talking about how she cursed Sleeping Beauty, so I wasn't sure what to think.

Third, the book just ends. I kept pressing "next" on my reading app until I realized I was on the last page. There was no real ending or resolution, just the witch saying she needs to go to the beach (which is accompanied by a hilarious illustration of her in a bikini, hairy legs and all). I think part of the problem is that, since there's no actual story, there's nothing to indicate when the book is actually at an end. This may be a peek at a witch's diary, but it's like we just got to read part of it before she burst into the room and turned us into a toad.

All that said, I think this book will have appeal for those who like picture books about witches. It's worth taking a look for the illustrations alone.

Thank you to NetGalley and CrackBoom! Books for providing a digital ARC.

Premise: 3/5
Meter: 2/5
Writing: 3/5
Illustrations: 4/5
Originality: 4/5

Enjoyment: 3/5

Overall: 3.14 out of 5

No comments:

Post a Comment