Kirkus Reviews QR Code
NEIGHBORHOOD ODES by Gary Soto

NEIGHBORHOOD ODES

By Gary Soto (Author) , David Diaz (Illustrator)

Age Range: 10 - 12

Pub Date: April 1st, 1992
ISBN: 0-15-256879-4
Publisher: Harcourt

 The memories and experiences of Hispanic children are celebrated in a collection of short-lined poems from the author of Baseball in April (1990). With the one exception of the deliciously shivery ``Ode to La Llorona'' (a weeping ghost), the mood ranges from tired happiness to downright exuberance. A girl boasts that she doesn't have to pay for raspados (snow-cones) because her father drives the ice-cream truck; Pablo goes to bed without a bath because ``he wants to be/Like his shoes,/A little dirty''; a child eats a spoonful of ground chile pepper from the molcajete (mortar), to his huge regret; others fondly recall picnics, a wedding, the library, running through the sprinkler, and similar pleasures of a California neighborhood. Diaz's occasional illustrations, with the sharp-edged black areas of woodcuts or paper silhouettes, are angular and stylized to near abstraction. Soto's language leans slightly toward the formal (as befits an ode) and is sprinkled with Spanish words, clear in context but also translated in a glossary. (Poetry. 10-12)