Dramatic triple threat–in-training Carmen returns in another story of sibling love and sharing the spotlight.
Since putting on her big home stage show in Starring Carmen! (2017), things appear to be going great for young actress/singer/director Carmen and her adoring little brother, Eduardo. When Carmen decides to turn her attention to the big time by submitting an entry to a contest for a Dino-Krispies cereal commercial, she names Eduardo cinematographer (“What’s a cinnamon-tographer?” he asks). She puts together a showstopping dance number, but it’s cute Eduardo in a dino costume who gets the ad agency’s attention. Carmen must, of course, overcome her emotions without displaying bitterness toward Eduardo, who offers to turn down the gig. For readers of the first book, it’ll come as no surprise that Carmen won’t let that happen, and she shows some growth since then in how quickly she becomes a cheerleader for her brother. Soon, Carmen is seeking career opportunities in talent management. What the Carmen books do well is treat the overeager enthusiasm of Carmen with compassion: Her dreams aren’t presented as unrealistic or irritating to her bilingual, interracial, Latinx family; her parents and brother enjoy her performances. The illustrations throughout capture great human moments in the characters’ expressions, the way they stand, dance, and move, and the ebullient mass of purple hair on Carmen’s (and her mother’s) head.
Carmen’s moxie still charms, even when Eduardo is stealing the show. (Picture book. 5-7)