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ESTELA’S SWAP by Alexis O’Neill

ESTELA’S SWAP

By Alexis O’Neill (Author) , Enrique O. Sanchez (Illustrator)

Age Range: 6 - 10

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2002
ISBN: 1-58430-044-2
Publisher: Lee & Low

Estela goes with her father and her brother to the Swap Meet, hoping to earn the ten dollars she needs to pay for folk-dancing lessons by selling a colorful music box that plays Cielito Lindo. After they have set up their stand, her father introduces her to the art of bargaining. Estela handles the customers’ offers well, but no one wants to pay anywhere near the price she’s asking. When a sudden gust of March wind blows away, all the paper flowers of the friendly woman in a neighboring stand, Estela impulsively gives her the music box that no one has purchased. “Suddenly she knew what she had to do, even if it meant she wouldn’t earn any money today.” In a surprise ending that careful readers may anticipate, Estela is surprised to receive something wonderful in return. “ ‘Since we are at a Swap Meet,’ the woman said, ‘it is only fair that we swap.’ ” Sanchez’s (Speak English for Us, Marisol!, not reviewed, etc.) colorful pastels effectively focus attention on the main characters and objects by delineating them clearly, while softening the outlines of the others. Seven Spanish names and expressions are included in a glossary and pronunciation guide on the half-title page, where, unfortunately, they may be overlooked. This well-crafted tale featuring a Mexican-American father and children will be wonderful for reading aloud to individuals or to groups. (Picture book. 6-10)