A young boy’s family goes on another travel adventure in this series installment by author Godoy and illustrator Lenormand (Mori’s Family Adventures: Brazilian Culture Exchange, 2018, etc.).
The story starts with Mori and Valencia, two African-American children, wondering where their family will travel this year. Their parents soon announce that they’ll be going on a “dream vacation” to Rio de Janeiro. Grandma joins them on the trip and keeps the kids busy on the long flight. After they arrive, they all view the city’s skyscrapers from inside their taxicab. The family goes on to see all the highlights of Rio, including Copacabana Beach, the Christ the Redeemer statue, Sugarloaf Mountain, and Tijuca Rainforest. Godoy and Lenormand cleverly work several city landmarks into the plot as Mori and Valencia chase a teddy bear stealing–monkey through the city on their last day; in this way, they very naturally introduce a number of iconic locations. Lenormand’s cartoonish illustrations show the personalities of the family members and offer realistic representations of Rio landmarks. Mori and Valencia are charming main characters, and their family members are equally enjoyable. However, Godoy’s text is uneven. At one point, the narration says that the kids will be going to Rio de Janeiro “in a few days,” but then Dad immediately says that they’re leaving “in the morning.” There are also odd tense shifts, and sometimes the dialogue feels stilted and unrealistic. However, the brightly colored illustrations of Rio, which is known for its samba parade costumes and natural beauty, and the natural charm of Mori and Valencia overcome these flaws. The story is based on the adventures of the author and her family, and she includes photos of the real-life trip at the end of the book.
A fine tourist’s introduction to Rio de Janeiro with eye-catching illustrations and likable characters, despite a few flaws.