#924 – Brunhilda’s Backwards Day by Shawna. J. C. Tenney

cover Brunhilda’s Backwards Day
Written and Illustrated by Shawna J. C. Tenney
Sky Pony Press  8/02/2016
32 pages   Ages 3—6

“Brunhilda the witch loves making trouble.

“Each morning, she wakes up on the wrong side of the bed, puts on her ugliest dress, eats spider mush for breakfast, and brushes her teeth with candy. As soon as she leaves the house, she begins to spread her mischief. No one is safe from her rainy-day spells or her wart-growing charms!

“But one night, Brunhilda’s cat makes trouble instead.” [inside jacket]

Brunhilda the witch is like most bad witches: other’s troubles make her happy, especially if she, Brunhilda, made that trouble. Like most bad witches, Brunhilda wakes up on the wrong side of the bed, which is the right side for Brunhilda. But the night before, Brunhilda’s cat made some magic of its own, causing a terrible backwards day for its master. Payback for Brunhilda treating the cat terribly.

First, Brunhilda wakes up on the right side of the bed, which we know is the wrong side for a trouble-causing witch like Brunhilda. Her spider-topped mush is gone, replaced with good old-fashioned oatmeal. Yuck! Then Brunhilda scares herself when she looks in the mirror. Her ugly warts are gone leaving a beautiful complexion. Oh, Double-Yuck! Brunhilda will feel better once she casts an evil spell upon a child or two. And there he is, a child holding a double-scoop ice cream cone. Brunhilda, with much glee, recites her favorite spell:

“Lumpy grumpy fly pie stew!
hocus pocus
hippity hoppity spew!”

“POOF!” The young boy is so thrilled with what happens he high-fives Brunhilda. Brunhilda tries once more. “POOF!” These kids cheer and happily clap Brunhilda. The witch realizes she is having a backwards day. But, the high-five and the cheers are nice, even . . . good. No, no, not good. Brunhilda recites her next spell backwards. These kids are no longer happy, which makes Brunhilda very happy, for a moment or two.

Brunhilda 2Brunhilda’s Backwards Day is about how a bad witch—or a bad kid—can become a good witch—or a good kid—with a little positive reinforcement. Brunhilda is used to being mean. She loves making mischief even more, even to her loyal cat. Brunhilda is a bully with an advantage: magic. I love the cat. Dressed in a lab coat and goggles, it concocts the perfect backwards spell. I love the gentle humor and the “horrible” things Brunhilda does to the kids around her. Yet it is clear, Brunhilda is a bully. And her cat intends to teach Brunhilda an interesting lesson.

When Brunhilda’s day—and her spells—go backwards, her magic becomes nice treats for the kids. The kids thank Brunhilda with high-fives, cheers, and clapping. Brunhilda likes how this feels, this positive attention. Still, she is a witch, so she recites a spell backwards and it works as intended. No more clapping or cheers. Brunhilda decides she rather likes the positive over the negative. A bully is slowly turning into a good witch.

brunhilda gardentitlepage

Positive reinforcement/positive attention will work with every day, non-enmagicked bullies as well. Most bullies are unhappy kids, taking out their sorrow on the world around them. Or they are attention starved and negative attention is better than no attention. Positive attention/reinforcement can work and Brunhilda proves this out, thanks to her decidedly intelligent cat (my cats made me write that).

What I do not like about Brunhilda’s Backwards Day is the book jacket. The jacket looks like a purplish-green foil; the result of a good spell gone horribly bad. But remove the ugly jacket and you find a lovely, beautiful picture book cover. The same illustration, without the foil effects. The interior illustrations are also fun and beautiful. The images pop off the page perfectly.

Brunhilda 1Kids will enjoy Brunhilda and her magical cat. Kids will love seeing the witch’s spells foiled, especially if a bully has ever cast a bad spell onto them. I like the story and its message, casually given to readers who choose to believe in the magic of positive attention. Brunhilda’s Backwards Day is the perfect spell for a winning picture book debut.

Brunhilda’s Backwards Day is Shawna J. C. Tenney’s debut (solo) picture book.

BRUNHILDA’S BACKWARDS DAY. Text and Illustrations copyright © 2016 by Shawna. J. C. Tenney. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Sky Pony Press, New York, NY.

AmazonIndie BooksApple BooksSky Pony Press

Find Brunhilda’s Backwards Day on Goodreads HERE.
Find Printable Activity Pages HERE.

Shawna. J. C. Tenney:  http://www.shawnajctenney.com/
Follow on Twitter          @shawnajctenney

Sky Pony Press:  http://skyponypress.com/
Follow on Twitter          @skyhorsepub

Sky Pony Press is an imprint of Skyhorse Publishing.

Reprinted with permission from BRUNHILDA’S BACKWARDS DAY © 2016 by Shawna. J. C. Tenney, Sky Pony Press, an imprint of Skyhorse Publishing, Illustrations © 2016 by Shawna. J. C. Tenney.

Copyright © 2016 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved

Brunhilda’s Backwards Day
Written and Illustrated by Shawna. J. C. Tenney
Sky Pony Press 8/02/2016


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