Rosa-Casanova's first book is a terrific blend of a cumulative tale, a cook's tour of ethnic cuisine--a genuine sense of apartment life, and an unforced display of affection. Mama Provi lives on the ground floor of a city building; her granddaughter Lucy lives on the eighth floor. When Lucy gets the chicken pox, Mama Provi whips up a big batch of arroz con pollo (Mama, in a family of twelve, is hardwired to cook in great quantities) and sets out to scale the apartment stairs. On each floor, as she catches her breath, Mama Provi smells something delicious--fresh bread, frijoles negros, collard greens, an apple pie--and trades a bowl of rice for a portion of each, as well as some salad and tea. By the time she gets to Lucy, a fine feast has been hunted and gathered in a story with elegant forward energy and well-paced repetitions. Roth's watercolor-and-ink illustrations have all the eccentricity the tale deserves, and superbly conjure the special life that goes on in the hallways and stairs of apartment buildings.