Books by Arthur Dorros

ABUELO by Arthur Dorros
by Arthur Dorros, illustrated by Raúl Colón
Released: April 22, 2014

"This book succeeds at both specificity and universality, presenting the distinct culture of the gaucho cowboy and the plains of South America through a story that will resonate broadly with many children and families. (Picture book. 4-7)"
More than 20 years after Abuela, illustrated by Elisa Kleven (1991), Dorros offers a gentle story of the lessons a grandfather imparts to his grandson while riding horses together on the plains before the boy moves to the city. Read full book review >
PAPÁ AND ME by Arthur Dorros
Released: May 1, 2008

Dynamic, energetic, larger-than-life swirls of color vividly celebrate the loving relationship between a young Latino boy and his Papá. Father and son spend a day together, speaking Spanish and English, making breakfast pancakes and playing in the park. They hold hands and the father swings his son up into the sky. They race and tell each other stories and finally ride the bus to the grandparents' house, where father, son and grandparents embrace in warm curves crowned by a heart radiating golden light. Gutierrez covers each page in rich color, adding surrealistic background elements that include the sun, clouds, raindrops and an eagle. The child tells the story simply, " ‘Mira, look,' I tell him. / A bird is up there. / ‘Águila.' Eagle, Papá tells me. / He says my eyes see things he can't see." The exuberant art and simple text convey the dreamlike perfect happiness of a young boy's joyous day with his beloved Papá. (Picture book. 3-8)Read full book review >
JULIO’S MAGIC by Arthur Dorros
Released: Jan. 1, 2005

Set in a small village of wood carvers in southern Mexico, this gentle tale celebrates artistic creation, community and kindness. Julio, a young boy, has learned the art of wood-carving from Iluminado, and learned from him how to find wood that talks and even sings, telling what it wants to be. This year Julio would like to enter the carving contest in which the winner receives a substantial prize. His mother tells him his carvings are the best he's ever done, and even the other carvers urge him to enter. But Julio sees that times are hard for Iluminado, whose eyesight is fading. His crops have not done well, and he will have little to eat over the winter. Instead of entering his own carvings in the contest, Julio helps Iluminado get his ready, enabling him to win. For Julio, there will be next year. Grifalconi's collages mingling manipulated photographs and painted surfaces have magic of their own, establishing a strong sense of place with a touch of the surreal. (Picture book. 4-9)Read full book review >
UNDER THE SUN by Arthur Dorros
Released: Oct. 1, 2004

This middling war story, placed in Bosnia and Croatia in the early 1990s, follows a boy displaced and scrambling for survival. Thirteen-year-old Ehmet lives in Sarajevo, but when it becomes too dangerous, his father sends him and his mother to the countryside. They're attacked and his mother beaten; they flee and begin walking west towards the Croatian border. Along the way, his mother becomes ill and dies, leaving Ehmet alone to negotiate roving soldiers. He's placed in a refugee camp, but escapes and reaches a tiny village in the Croatian mountains where war orphans have a chance for new lives. Dorros eschews subtlety with over-direct points like "No group seemed to have a monopoly on doing harm or helping." Ehmet is fairly generic, as is the whole text: if not for repeated narrative use of the words "Muslim," "Croat," "Serb," and "Bosnian," the whole thing could take place in any war setting. (map, author's note) (Fiction. 10-13)Read full book review >
CITY CHICKEN by Arthur Dorros
Released: Feb. 1, 2003

A storm of double-entendres and figures of speech turned into literalisms, plus a fine little twist on commonly held notions of city vs. country, make Dorros's story of a chicken that flew the coop a winner. Henry—short for Henrietta, it seems—is a city chicken. She has her own coop and the run of the backyard where she works the scratch and chats with Lucy, the family cat. Lucy regales Henry with stories of strange farm animals, reflected in illustrations showing Henry's interpretation of them. Henry decides to investigate for herself. She tries to fly to the country, but opts to take the bus when her wings fail her. Henry asks a passing ant, "Where is the country these days?" The ant motions to a truck headed in the right direction, a garbage truck, which, the ant notes, serves great meals. Once in the country and on a farm, Henry gets the special treat of visiting a substantial chicken coop, which resembles a cross between a purgatorial apartment house and a forced-labor camp. Henry is on the next truck home and another pastoral idyll gets its balloon pricked. This is not Cole's most inspired work, though he still manages to stand above the crowd. The illustrations, with their corny mannerisms, flag when held up next to the text. But Dorros shines, the wordplay at just the right pitch of sophistication, slyly winking at the readers as it invites them in on all the jokes. (Picture book. 4-8)Read full book review >
Released: Feb. 1, 2001

Dorros (Ten Go Tango, 2000, etc.) lets loose his usual bright humor, lively narrative, and momentum—here paired with the shining colors and kinetic characters in Greenseid's (Chicken For a Day, not reviewed, etc.) art—but he beats an aggravating one-note tune with his Spanish lesson. Don Carlos can't get enough, of everything: hats, ice cream, music, or choices of dishes for the menu at his village restaurant. Más, más, más is his leitmotif. When his younger brother, Alonzo, suggests that Don Carlos serve snails in his restaurant, he orders wheelbarrow loads: "Más." When the profusion of snails run amok, Alonzo recommends birds to control them. "Más," commands Don Carlos, then lots of pigs to control the birds. "Más." Only when Alonzo forms a band—a bunch of dreadful hacks to accompany his heavenly violin—to serenade the pigs out of town, à la the Pied Piper, does Don Carlos beg for less: less earsplitting music. The point, of course, is that more is not necessarily better—in this case never, and the same applies to Don Carlos, whom readers will have had enough of shortly after his introduction. Thanks then to the rest of the trippingly fun story for keeping the book afloat. (Picture book. 4-8)Read full book review >
TEN GO TANGO by Arthur Dorros
Released: April 30, 2000

From waltzing walruses to rhinos doing the rumba, an eclectic collection of light-footed animals shake and shimmy their way through the numbers one to ten in this counting book and primer of basic dances. Feet will be tapping to the lively tempo of rhyming verses as various creatures take to the floor. One osprey attired in a tutu begins the tale, dancing ballet. Next come a pair of two-stepping toucans. On it goes, right through to ten flamingos doing the tango. The story concludes with a gate-fold illustration opening up to reveal a spectacular scene of the entire group cutting a rug together on the overflowing dance floor. Each featured number stands out, brightly colored and filling nearly three-quarters the height of the page. Readers have plenty of opportunities to practice their counting as Dorros (The Fungus that Ate My School, 2000) cleverly incorporates the numbers into the dance steps, "3 bears begin to cha-cha. / 1,2,3, cha, cha, cha." McCully's (Monk Camps Out, 2000) vividly hued watercolors are uproariously funny. The juxtaposition of elegantly attired creatures, earnestly whirling about with an occasional hoof, tusk, or antennae showing will keep readers in stitches. Get ready to polish those dancing shoes because it is virtually impossible to sit still through a reading of this exuberant tale. One tremendously fun introduction to numbers. (Picture book. 3-6)Read full book review >
Released: April 1, 2000

A science project literally mushrooms out of control in this wildly funny twist on a building problem common to more than a few schools. After a particularly rainy spring break, students and teachers walk unsuspectingly into a school that has been transformed into a fungal jungle, with pullulating masses of mottled `IT` covering everything from books to bulletin boards. Dorros (A Tree is Growing, 1997) tells the tale with pokerfaced brevity; Catrow (Rotten Teeth, 1998), coloring Seussian tangles of tentacled fuzz with garish splashes of reds, greens and purples, creates scenes of unbridled chaos in each room from lunch area to library. What to do? `IT` stands no chance once the local sanitation department's Fungus Unit rushes in, armed with scrapers and bottles of `Fungo Fast.` It all ends on a happy, even triumphant note, as the school is quickly restored to normal—and the responsible science project even wins a Golden Moldy award from the Museum of Fungus and Industry. There's a lesson here somewhere . . . well, maybe not. (Picture book. 79)Read full book review >
A TREE IS GROWING by Arthur Dorros
Released: April 1, 1997

A verdant testimony to the noble plants that shade our lawns and line our streets. Dorros (Isla, 1995, etc.) goes back to the basic botany of mostly temperate-zone trees, presenting leaves, roots, bark, flowers, and fruit in simple language. He also explains processes such as photosynthesis, the movement of xylem and phloem, and the tree's ``ring system'' of charting its own age. Using sidebars to his advantage, Dorros sets forth interesting details—e.g., how a baobab stores water—without interrupting the flow of the main text. The science isn't new, but Schindler's illustrations portray it so vigorously that readers will almost hear leaves rustling overhead. Textures abound, from scratchy-looking bark to the smooth round bottoms of acorns. Readers will be exploring woods, sidewalks, and yards- -anyplace there are trees—with new eyes. (Picture book/nonfiction. 5-8) Read full book review >
ISLA by Arthur Dorros
by Arthur Dorros, illustrated by Elisa Kleven
Released: Oct. 1, 1995

Dorros likes to outfit his grandmothers with wings (see Abuela, 1991, for another soaring granny) that allow them to take their grandchildren on culturally packed flights over ancestral haunts. Here the girl and her grandmother ride the skies from New York City to the Caribbean island that was the grandmother's home. What follows is a splendid physical geography of the island, covering the fields, tiny towns, and the rain forest, as well as an exploration of the social landscape: uncles and aunts, friends and neighbors, the new city and the old marketplace. Dorros's text, injected with Spanish phrases, is always purposeful, informative, and even lyrical in its own bright, clipped way. Kleven's inventive paintings run wild with color and activity, faithful to the text and sometimes sharpening it. Rarely does the allegedly dull science of cultural geography get such spirited handling. (glossary) (Picture book. 3-7) Read full book review >
RADIO MAN/DON RADIO by Arthur Dorros
Released: Sept. 30, 1993

As Diego travels with his family looking for work—picking melons near Phoenix, cherries in California, apples in the Northwest—he tunes in to local stations, Spanish, English, or both; that's why his friend David, whom he hasn't seen since they picked cabbages on the Texas border, calls him ``Radio Man.'' When Diego relays a message through a call-in show in Washington, David hears it and they meet again. Dorros's colorful, simply drawn illustrations have a pleasing naivetÇ and include some nice details—Mama, glimpsed in the rearview mirror, dozing on an all- night drive; an owl nesting in a saguaro cactus while the family listens to ``the Night Owl'' on ``KKTS, Cactus radio.'' Both the Spanish and English texts here incorporate context-defined words from the other language, in the natural manner of those becoming more fluent. An upbeat but largely realistic picture of migrant life—and an entertaining boost to bilingualism. (Picture book. 4-8) Read full book review >
ABUELA by Arthur Dorros
by Arthur Dorros, illustrated by Elisa Kleven
Released: Sept. 1, 1991

Rosalba imagines how the grandmother who takes her to the park might soar with her over the city (New York), sharing the sights. Since ``Abuela'' speaks ``mostly Spanish,'' Rosalba mentions many Spanish words for what they see, and in their conversations. Though the storyline here is slight, the relationship glows with affection; the Spanish vocabulary is well integrated and clear in context. Kleven's illustrations—jewel- like collages of sparkling images and patterns, crammed with intriguing details—effectively transmit Rosalba's joy in her narrative. Pronouncing glossary. (Picture book. 3-8) Read full book review >

A young boy who lives high in the Andes tells about his family's preparations for the annual festival, to take place in "the big village down the valley." Plowing for spring planting, caring for llamas, getting vegetables ready for market, and practicing the instruments used for the holiday's music—all are simply described and depicted in the especially commissioned illustrations, created in arpilleras, a traditional art form of the region. The photos of these three-dimensionally appliquÇd fabrics are bright, cheerful, and full of life, their stylized representations an unusually authentic and attractive contribution. Photos of the arpillera-makers at work at the Club de Madres Virgen del Carmen of Lima, Peru, are included in a final two-page spread. One of the growing number of internationally generated books whose sale benefits a worthy cause, in this case OXFAM Very brief glossary (four musical instruments, Andes Mountains," and "Carnaval"). Read full book review >