A beautifully told, wonderfully illustrated story of kindness and generosity.


Hazelita and the Magic Broom

An old woman who grants wishes travels through her lonely life in this poignant modern-day fairy tale about wishes, greed, and acceptance by debut author/illustrator Finning.

Hazelita is an old woman who has no home and few possessions. The one thing she has of worth is a magic broom her mother left her. If Hazelita uses it to sweep, it grants a wish for whomever owns the home she’s sweeping. She offers her gift in trade for a meal and a place to sleep as she travels, and many homeowners are more than willing to trade, though they rarely offer anything beyond the bare minimum. As the story begins, Hazelita’s travels have been going on for some time, to the point that the fame of the Broom Lady precedes her. At the first home in the tale, she’s offered only leftovers from the family’s meal, then left in solitude; she cries herself to sleep. In the morning, her broom grants the wish of the homeowner, who is suddenly rich; without further thought, the homeowner ushers Hazelita out the door. The next stop is much the same: a modicum of food and shelter in exchange for the transformation of a home into a large palace. At the third house, Hazelita is welcomed inside and treated as an honored guest. But despite the family’s generosity, Hazelita still cries herself to sleep. In the morning, despite the protests of the family, Hazelita sweeps—but nothing happens. As word spreads that the broom is broken, Hazelita is turned away, only to return to the generous family and, to her surprise, receive her own happy ending. Written in the style of an old fairy tale, this modern twist features contemporary homes and places from the author’s home state of Connecticut. The tale curiously lacks comeuppance for the wishing families who treated the old woman disrespectfully. Despite that, the heroes here are clearly in the family that offers love and acceptance and finds kindness more valuable than riches. Finning’s illustrations vary between magical images, as when the broom does its work surrounded by rainbow curlicues, and more detailed illustrations grounded in the scene, e.g., of Hazelita approaching a house or the family dancing around with the money they wished for. An illustration of Hazelita crying at night is particularly touching.

A beautifully told, wonderfully illustrated story of kindness and generosity.

Pub Date: July 22, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4327-5441-9

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Outskirts Press Inc.

Review Posted Online: Sept. 22, 2015

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The book is perfect for read-alouds, with occasional, often onomatopoeic Spanish words such as “quiquiriquí,” “tacatac” and...


Inspired by Colombian librarian Luis Soriano Bohórquez, Brown’s latest tells of a little girl whose wish comes true when a librarian and two book-laden burros visit her remote village.

Ana loves to read and spends all of her free time either reading alone or to her younger brother. She knows every word of the one book she owns. Although she uses her imagination to create fantastical bedtime tales for her brother, she really wants new books to read. Everything changes when a traveling librarian and his two donkeys, Alfa and Beto, arrive in the village. Besides loaning books to the children until his next visit, the unnamed man also reads them stories and teaches the younger children the alphabet. When Ana suggests that someone write a book about the traveling library, he encourages her to complete this task herself. After she reads her library books, Ana writes her own story for the librarian and gives it to him upon his reappearance—and he makes it part of his biblioburro collection. Parra’s colorful folk-style illustrations of acrylics on board bring Ana’s real and imaginary worlds to life. This is a child-centered complement to Jeanette Winter’s Biblioburro (2010), which focuses on Soriano.

The book is perfect for read-alouds, with occasional, often onomatopoeic Spanish words such as “quiquiriquí,” “tacatac” and “iii-aah” adding to the fun.   (author’s note, glossary of Spanish terms) (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: July 12, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-58246-353-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tricycle

Review Posted Online: June 6, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2011

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This companion piece to the other fairy tales Marcia Brown has interpreted (see Puss In Boots, 1952, p. 548 and others) has the smoothness of a good translation and a unique charm to her feathery light pictures. The pictures have been done in sunset colors and the spreads on each page as they illustrate the story have the cumulative effect of soft cloud banks. Gentle.

Pub Date: June 15, 1954

ISBN: 0684126761

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: Oct. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1954

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