MAYTE AND THE BOGEYMAN/MAYTE Y EL CUCO

Despite the title, González’s first book is less a scary story than a child’s-eye view of life in Puerto Rico and the importance of community. For the most part, Mayte loves to see the street vendors who pass by her house, but she draws the line at the ice cream man, the grumpy Don Aparicio, who is—she is sure—el Cuco, the bogeyman. When Mayte and her friend Pepito see Don Aparicio carrying a squirming bag over his shoulder, Mayte is certain the man has kidnapped a naughty child, either for eating or for selling in the market. But their attempt to rescue the “child” turns up nothing but two chickens, and Don Aparicio has a chance to reveal the kindness beneath the crankiness. Rodriguez’s illustrations are full-page color paintings, realistic, full of the details of life in the tropics, and perhaps a little old-fashioned. Suspenseful enough for read-alouds with younger audiences, Mayte’s tale is probably too tame for older students, who might prefer the real bogeyman in Joe Hayes’s El Cucuy (2003). Still, both Spanish and English texts flow smoothly, and even the suggestion of terror is sure to set younger hearts racing. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: March 31, 2006

ISBN: 1-55885-442-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Piñata Books/Arté Público

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2006

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THE BEST CHEF IN SECOND GRADE

An impending school visit by a celebrity chef sends budding cook Ollie into a tailspin. He and his classmates are supposed to bring a favorite family food for show and tell, but his family doesn’t have a clear choice—besides, his little sister Rosy doesn’t like much of anything. What to do? As in their previous two visits to Room 75, Kenah builds suspense while keeping the tone light, and Carter adds both bright notes of color and familiar home and school settings in her cartoon illustrations. Eventually, Ollie winkles favorite ingredients out of his clan, which he combines into a mac-and-cheese casserole with a face on top that draws delighted praise from the class’s renowned guest. As Ollie seems to do his kitchen work without parental assistance, a cautionary tip or two (and maybe a recipe) might not have gone amiss here, but the episode’s mouthwatering climax and resolution will guarantee smiles of contentment all around. (Easy reader. 6-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-06-053561-2

Page Count: 48

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2007

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BUBBA, THE COWBOY PRINCE

A FRACTURED TEXAS TALE

A Cinderella parody features the off-the-wall, whang-dang Texas hyperbole of Ketteman (The Year of No More Corn, 1993, etc.) and the insouciance of Warhola, who proves himself only too capable of creating a fairy godcow; that she's so appealingly whimsical makes it easy to accept the classic tale's inversions. The protagonist is Bubba, appropriately downtrodden and overworked by his wicked stepdaddy and loathsome brothers Dwayne and Milton, who spend their days bossing him around. The other half of the happy couple is Miz Lurleen, who owns ``the biggest spread west of the Brazos.'' She craves male companionship to help her work the place, ``and it wouldn't hurt if he was cute as a cow's ear, either.'' There are no surprises in this version except in the hilarious way the premise plays itself out and in Warhola's delightful visual surprises. When Lurleen tracks the bootless Bubba down, ``Dwayne and Milton and their wicked daddy threw chicken fits.'' Bubba and babe, hair as big as a Texas sun, ride off to a life of happy ranching, and readers will be proud to have been along for the courtship. (Picture book/folklore. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1997

ISBN: 0-590-25506-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1997

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