Alice Nizzy Nazzy
Tony Johnston's Alice Nizzy Nazzy is a story about a young
girl who encounters a witch in the desert near Santa Fe. Having lost
her flock of sheep, Manuela ventures into a roadrunner-legged hut surrounded
by prickly pear cactus. Inside the hut is the witch, Alice Nizzy Nazzy,
who is notorious for eating naughty children. Alice considers Manuela
to be a "bad" child and throws her into a pot to be eaten. When the
witch shows the child her special teas, she discovers that she is missing
the black cactus flower: an ingredient that keeps her young. Manuela
claims that she knows the location of the magical flower. Alice Nizzy
Nazzy uses her magical pot to fly Manuela up to the top of a large canyon.
At the top of the canyon, the witch retrieves the black cactus flower.
Upon returning home, she throws Manuela back into the pot and decides
to taste her stew. However, since Manuela is a "good" child, the stew
is too sour for the witch. As a result, Alice Nizzy Nazzy embarks on
a journey to find a naughty child. When the witch leaves the hut, her
spell is broken. Manuela escapes, receives her flock back, and has made
a new friend - the witch's giant horned lizard.
Truly, Alice Nizzy Nazzy is a book that is both well written
and well illustrated. There is extensive imagery throughout the story.
Children will be delighted to imagine a roadrunner-legged hut and will
be engaged by the book's plot. Furthermore, the pictures are very colorful,
and reflect the traditional purple and turquoise colors of the Southwest.
The chili peppers on Alice Nizzy Nazzy's hair, the speckles of blue
and black on the horned lizard's back, and the expressions on Manuela's
face are just a few of the many details seen in this book. Alice
Nizzy Nazzy would be especially appropriate for early elementary
students. However, due to the fact that this book contains a witch,
teachers should be cautious when reading the story to very young children.
The book would also be special to read around Halloween, or it would
integrate well into a unit about the Southwest.
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