LAUGHING TOMATOES/ JITOMATES RISUEÑOS
Francisco X. Alarcón
Maya Christina Gonzalez
An energetic cast of characters in 20 short, freely styled poems in both English and Spanish help readers "see everything for the first time." "My Grandma's Songs" "would follow/the beat of/the washing machine" and "could turn/my grandma/into a young girl." The laughing tomatoes turn their "wireframed/bushes/into/Christmas trees/in spring," shown in a spread in which wedged into the smiling mouths of children and pets are, somewhat astonishingly, slices of heavily seeded tomato. With vibrantly stylized illustrations, this lively gathering carries an invitation from Alarcón to "make these poems yours" by reading them, words followed by the final short poem--"there are no endings/just new beginnings." An accessible, open-hearted collection.