More than 20 years after Abuela, illustrated by Elisa Kleven (1991), Dorros offers a gentle story of the lessons a grandfather imparts to his grandson while riding horses together on the plains before the boy moves to the city.
This picture book also calls to mind the author’s Papá and Me, illustrated by Rudy Gutierrez (2008), as it lovingly expresses the lasting impact that time spent with a caring adult family member can have on a young child. The brief English text weaves in Spanish words and phrases with literal translations immediately provided (“ ‘No te preocupes,’ don’t worry, Abuelo told me...”). Though this technique is somewhat redundant, it may be helpful for readers who do not know Spanish. Colón’s watercolor-and-pencil illustrations expertly bring to life both expansive landscapes and subtle emotions, as the grandson transitions to city life. The lessons learned on the open plains help the young boy come to feel at home in the city—laughing when he feels fear, standing strong against a bully and finding comfort in gazing at the city stars.
This book succeeds at both specificity and universality, presenting the distinct culture of the gaucho cowboy and the plains of South America through a story that will resonate broadly with many children and families. (Picture book. 4-7)