A young boy helps revive his uncle’s failing tailoring business.
Uncle Flores is the best tailor in the fictional Brazilian town of Pinbauê. Young dark-skinned Edinho enjoys helping, but what he loves most is the sound of his uncle’s sewing machine going cloc cloc cloc cloc cloc. Business was good for Uncle Flores until the factory came to town. The story takes on depth and addresses both social and environmental injustice as the other problems that came with the factory come to light: mainly a polluted river, the Velho Chico. Instead of the colorful clothes Uncle Flores used to sew, now his only work is creating gray overalls for the factory workers. When the factory begins importing overalls, narrator Edinho suggests his uncle use scraps of old fancy colorful clothes and make curtains out of them. A sole customer leads to a resurgence of Uncle Flores’ business and sparks joy for the entire town. Mixed-media collage is a fitting choice for this story of cutting and piecing things together, though the bright colors at the end don’t significantly stand out. Refreshingly, Portuguese words sprinkled throughout the fairly lengthy text aren’t italicized. Though the solution reached doesn’t solve all the problems facing the people of Pinabauê, as the afterword says, “it gives the people hope and happiness. And that’s quite a beginning, isn’t it?” Yes, it is.
Loving and hopeful. (Picture book. 5-9)