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)