Wednesday, June 27, 2012


Simmons, Steven J. Alicia ya Greta: Un Cuento de dos Brujas. Illustrated by Cyd Moore. Translated by Teresa Mlawer. Waterton: Charlesbridge Publishing, 1999. ISBN 978-0881061338.

Alicia y Greta is a wonderful story. Translated into Spanish from the original in English, Alice and Greta: A Tale of Two Witches, the story follows two witches who attend the same school. They both learn magical spells, but they start using them in different ways. The witches have different perspectives on the things they learn and see, which are ostensibly the same.

It is a good story to share with students about the type of decisions they make. Everybody is given the same lesson in school and in life, but how people interpret and use their lessons can be very different. It is up to us to make decisions. The book is amazing because it specifically states what the consequence will be for making a bad decision. In the story the teacher states that whatever you decide to do with your magic will come back to you. A second lesson is to pay attention to instruction. You cannot be distracted because you may miss a very important critical instruction, which Greta did.

The language is beautiful and descriptive. The illustrations are colorful and vibrant. The story is full of verbs and adjectives which can easily be transferred to a lesson. For a lesson on introducing verbs, a read-aloud might be a good option, so that students can listen with the objective of identifying and writing down the verbs. Additionally, the spells in the book use a lot of rhymes, which can be used for a poetry lesson. At only 29 pages, the book is short and very fun to read. You can definitely keep the attention of your students.

Irina Flores Romano

This review is part of the Special Section: Books in Spanish, featuring a collaboration with Policy and Language Studies students at San Diego State University. Read more about it here.

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