A powerfully, even divinely told slice of life.

WOUNDED FALCONS

The unfortunate wounding of a falcon strengthens the bonds between two young boys in Buitrago and Yockteng’s latest collaboration.

A falcon springs up from a tree branch, soaring amid blue skies and white clouds. The rock comes from below and strikes the falcon’s wing. The falcon falls to the ground below. Meanwhile, Adrián and Santiago walk away from a bad day at school. Adrián sports a black eye and a clenched fist, and Santiago, who “never has any problems,” offers companionship. The friends go to an abandoned lot, where Santiago reads and Adrián climbs a tree, from which he spots the injured falcon. Concerned, Adrián decides to nurse it back to health. At the dinner table, he asks for advice from his mom, who instead lets Adrián know that she’s heard about the bad day at school and his father “will give you what you deserve.” No luck there. Still, Adrián looks over the falcon, taking the bird to the “old man who cures bones” and feeding and caring for the bird with the help of his friend. Adrián’s time with the falcon stirs something in him, something that Santiago has known was in him all along: a big heart. In Amado’s translation, Mexico City–based Buitrago’s words maintain a detached aloofness, masquerading the story’s hints of darkness and brushes with pain in a straightforward yet lyrical tone. Overall, the text’s cinematic in scope but intimate in its compassion. Colombian illustrator Yockteng’s vivid artwork depicts a world in layers, with splatters of colors and intriguing details in the backgrounds that urge a second look. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A powerfully, even divinely told slice of life. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 7, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-77306-456-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Groundwood

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2021

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Pete’s fans might find it groovy; anyone else has plenty of other “12 Days of Christmas” variants to choose among

PETE THE CAT'S 12 GROOVY DAYS OF CHRISTMAS

Pete, the cat who couldn’t care less, celebrates Christmas with his inimitable lassitude.

If it weren’t part of the title and repeated on every other page, readers unfamiliar with Pete’s shtick might have a hard time arriving at “groovy” to describe his Christmas celebration, as the expressionless cat displays not a hint of groove in Dean’s now-trademark illustrations. Nor does Pete have a great sense of scansion: “On the first day of Christmas, / Pete gave to me… / A road trip to the sea. / GROOVY!” The cat is shown at the wheel of a yellow microbus strung with garland and lights and with a star-topped tree tied to its roof. On the second day of Christmas Pete gives “me” (here depicted as a gray squirrel who gets on the bus) “2 fuzzy gloves, and a road trip to the sea. / GROOVY!” On the third day, he gives “me” (now a white cat who joins Pete and the squirrel) “3 yummy cupcakes,” etc. The “me” mentioned in the lyrics changes from day to day and gift to gift, with “4 far-out surfboards” (a frog), “5 onion rings” (crocodile), and “6 skateboards rolling” (a yellow bird that shares its skateboards with the white cat, the squirrel, the frog, and the crocodile while Pete drives on). Gifts and animals pile on until the microbus finally arrives at the seaside and readers are told yet again that it’s all “GROOVY!”

Pete’s fans might find it groovy; anyone else has plenty of other “12 Days of Christmas” variants to choose among . (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-267527-9

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Aug. 20, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2018

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This warm family story is a splendid showcase for the combined talents of Medina, a Pura Belpré award winner, and Dominguez,...

MANGO, ABUELA, AND ME

Abuela is coming to stay with Mia and her parents. But how will they communicate if Mia speaks little Spanish and Abuela, little English? Could it be that a parrot named Mango is the solution?

The measured, evocative text describes how Mia’s español is not good enough to tell Abuela the things a grandmother should know. And Abuela’s English is too poquito to tell Mia all the stories a granddaughter wants to hear. Mia sets out to teach her Abuela English. A red feather Abuela has brought with her to remind her of a wild parrot that roosted in her mango trees back home gives Mia an idea. She and her mother buy a parrot they name Mango. And as Abuela and Mia teach Mango, and each other, to speak both Spanish and English, their “mouths [fill] with things to say.” The accompanying illustrations are charmingly executed in ink, gouache, and marker, “with a sprinkling of digital magic.” They depict a cheery urban neighborhood and a comfortable, small apartment. Readers from multigenerational immigrant families will recognize the all-too-familiar language barrier. They will also cheer for the warm and loving relationship between Abuela and Mia, which is evident in both text and illustrations even as the characters struggle to understand each other. A Spanish-language edition, Mango, Abuela, y yo, gracefully translated by Teresa Mlawer, publishes simultaneously.

This warm family story is a splendid showcase for the combined talents of Medina, a Pura Belpré award winner, and Dominguez, an honoree. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 25, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-7636-6900-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2015

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