Gift Guide

Zulema and the Witch Owl / Zulema y la Bruja Lechuza


Entertaining bilingual picture book for ages 4-9 featuring a spooky character—Bruja Lechuza or the Witch Owl—from Mexican-American folklore. Zulema is the rather rude protagonist in this exciting story about the consequences of being mean to others. Lively illustrations capture the spirit of the naughty Zulema!

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Hardcover (Bilingual: English/Spanish)
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Entertaining bilingual picture book for ages 4-9 featuring a spooky character—Bruja Lechuza or the Witch Owl—from Mexican-American folklore. Zulema is the rather rude protagonist in this exciting story about the consequences of being mean to others. Lively illustrations capture the spirit of the naughty Zulema!

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Mandy Cruz
Zulema is a mean child. So mean that kittens and puppies hide from her and the Girl Scouts expelled her for throwing rocks at people who would not buy cookies from her. When Zulema's grandmother comes to visit Zulema tells the oldest living member of her family that her skin is like an elephant's trunk. Zulema's grandmother warns her that if she continues being cruel, the witch owl will come and take her away. Zulema dismisses her grandmother's warning as a silly story meant to scare her into being good. When Zulema settles in to bed that night there is a tapping at her window but when she goes to look nothing is there, she gets angry after getting out of bed repeatedly only to find nothing at her window. The last time she checks her window Zulema finds a huge white owl outside, before she realizes what has happened the owl breaks through her window and lands on her bed. The owl tells Zulema that she is there to take her away because she has been such a cruel child. Zulema begs the owl not to take her away and makes a teary promise to be a better child. The owl warns Zulema that she will be back if she does not keep her promise. The owl makes Zulema close her eyes and disappears. When Zulema opens her eyes her grandmother is in front of her wondering what has happened to her. Zulema explains that the witch owl paid her a visit and left a broken window as proof. Grandma Sabine tells Zulema that she made up the story to scare her and points out the intact window as her proof. Grandma Sabine kisses Zulema on the head and assures her it was a bad dream. As she walks out Zulema notices a white feather fall from Grandma's Sabine's robe. A tale that is sure to resonate with generationsof Hispanics reminding them of the stories our elders told us—so that we might behave. Reviewer: Mandy Cruz
School Library Journal
Gr 1-4–Nine-year-old Zulema is about to lose her reputation for being the meanest girl in the whole wide world. From throwing rocks at people who did not buy her Girl Scout cookies to making dogs and kittens swing around until they spin like airplane propellers, she is a terror. Then a visit from her grandmother changes her behavior. Sabina advises her that if she does not mend her ways, the Witch Owl will take her away. Garza effectively portrays this threat in his artwork by bringing the characters closer and closer to readers’ faces. His whimsical illustrations create a feeling of being inside the scenes. As in his other books, his passion for heroes, wrestling, and creepy creatures is in evidence. The transformation of Sabina into the Big Owl helps create suspense. The end of the story remains open: an owl feather is falling from Grandmother’s hair. Could she be the Witch Owl? This title offers suspense, fun, and surprise.–Irania Macías Patterson,Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County, NC
Kirkus Reviews
The disturbing use of scare tactics to reform a mean-spirited, nine-year-old bully lies at the heart of this bilingual English/Spanish story. One-dimensional Zulema is "the meanest little girl in the whole wide world," equally unleashing her wrath at children, adults, puppies and kittens. But she finds her comeuppance in her 90-year-old grandmother, who warns her of the Witch Owl that "always comes looking for mean little boys and girls" and takes them away. Undeterred, Zulema continues in her ways, but at night she investigates a tapping at her window and discovers the oversized, white-feathered body and creepy wide eyes of the Witch Owl, ready to take an instantly reformed Zulema away. With a suspicious white feather falling from her hair, Grandma intervenes to assure Zulema that it was just a bad dream. Lurid gouaches paint grotesque expressions, and the device of a vignette of the grandmother's face gradually transforming into the frightening bird adds to the disquieting theme. What might work well as an oral cautionary tale translates into a detrimentally moralistic book. (Picture book. 6-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781558855151
  • Publisher: Arte Publico Press
  • Publication date: 5/1/2009
  • Language: Spanish
  • Edition description: Bilingual: English/Spanish
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 1,401,761
  • Age range: 6 - 9 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.70 (w) x 11.10 (h) x 0.40 (d)

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 5, 2009

    Good and creepy fun

    This book was great. I grew up with Cucuys, so I know all about parents using scary monsters to get their children to behave. Mainstream America uses such scary characters to get their children to behave too. What we call the cucuy, mainstream America calls the boogeyman.Children will love this creepy, but fun book! The story may be viewed as moralistic to some, but it expresses the good moral themes that abound in Hispanic themed cucuys stories. The art was very cutting edge, far removed from the traditional cookie cutter children's book illustrations that plague books today. The author/illustrator used an anime-graphic novel style that todays kids love.

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