A MANGO IN THE HAND

A STORY TOLD THROUGH PROVERBS

A "story told through proverbs" could easily go terribly wrong, but this sweet tale succeeds beautifully.

On Francisco’s feast day, Mamá and Papá plan to make ropa vieja, tostones and aguacate. For dessert Francisco would like fresh-picked mangos from the tree a short walk from his home. Finding several bees near the tree, Francisco returns empty handed. Papá asks for an explanation. “La verdad, por dura que sea. / The truth, no matter how hard it is.” Francisco admits his fear of the bees, but Papa tells him to gently shoo them away. A second attempt results in his picking more than he can handle, making for a gooey mess. Papá suggests one more time. “You can do it by yourself, mi’jo / Querer es poder. / Where there’s a will, there’s a way.” Francisco succeeds but on the way home generously gives all his mangos to the neighbors. Through the little proverbs, Francisco learns that life is about trying, succeeding and sharing. “Amor con amor se paga. / Love is repaid with love.” This smoothly written family story is filled with warmth and humor and incorporates a blending of well-placed proverbs in both Spanish and English to drive the story’s themes. Digitally colored pencil-and-ink cartoon drawings reflect the lush greens of summertime and outdoor living in this intergenerational barrio.

Muy dolce. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: May 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-8109-9734-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: April 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2011

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Very young gardeners will need more information, but for certain picky eaters, the suggested strategy just might work.

SYLVIA'S SPINACH

A young spinach hater becomes a spinach lover after she has to grow her own in a class garden.

Unable to trade away the seed packet she gets from her teacher for tomatoes, cukes or anything else more palatable, Sylvia reluctantly plants and nurtures a pot of the despised veggie then transplants it outside in early spring. By the end of school, only the plot’s lettuce, radishes and spinach are actually ready to eat (talk about a badly designed class project!)—and Sylvia, once she nerves herself to take a nibble, discovers that the stuff is “not bad.” She brings home an armful and enjoys it from then on in every dish: “And that was the summer Sylvia Spivens said yes to spinach.” Raff uses unlined brushwork to give her simple cartoon illustrations a pleasantly freehand, airy look, and though Pryor skips over the (literally, for spinach) gritty details in both the story and an afterword, she does cover gardening basics in a simple and encouraging way.

Very young gardeners will need more information, but for certain picky eaters, the suggested strategy just might work. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Nov. 6, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-9836615-1-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Readers to Eaters

Review Posted Online: Sept. 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2012

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THE GIRL WHO LOVED WILD HORSES

            There are many parallel legends – the seal women, for example, with their strange sad longings – but none is more direct than this American Indian story of a girl who is carried away in a horses’ stampede…to ride thenceforth by the side of a beautiful stallion who leads the wild horses.  The girl had always loved horses, and seemed to understand them “in a special way”; a year after her disappearance her people find her riding beside the stallion, calf in tow, and take her home despite his strong resistance.  But she is unhappy and returns to the stallion; after that, a beautiful mare is seen riding always beside him.  Goble tells the story soberly, allowing it to settle, to find its own level.  The illustrations are in the familiar striking Goble style, but softened out here and there with masses of flowers and foliage – suitable perhaps for the switch in subject matter from war to love, but we miss the spanking clean design of Custer’s Last Battle and The Fetterman Fight.          6-7

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 1978

ISBN: 0689845049

Page Count: -

Publisher: Bradbury

Review Posted Online: April 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1978

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