Once upon a short time ago, there was a girl named Carlota who had a unique power: everyone understood her just from her gestures and glances.
So this Spanish import’s fair-skinned protagonist never talks—until one day, she needs to. Carlota's power of communicating without talking works when she's hungry; when she's on the playground and doesn't feel like running anymore or wants to play a new game; and even in the classroom when her teacher asks a question. (Like Carlota, her classmates, teacher, and family all present as white.) But one day she accidentally gets locked into the pantry, with only jars, cans, pots, and a broomstick with bristles full of fluff. As Carlota realizes her communication method will not work on these inanimate objects, she must overcome her fear and try something she has never done before: talk! The whimsical, tongue-in-cheek narration asks readers questions (“Are you ready to know?”) and adds little asides (“Yes, I know I have already said this, but...”), making readers feel the story is being told just to them. Urberuaga's simply drawn illustrations, heavily outlined in black and using a richly saturated palette, perfectly complement the charm and humor of the story. Readers will want to watch out for Tom the mouse, Carlota's friend, and his antics while Carlota is locked in the pantry.
A tale gently told of finding our inner strengths. (Picture book. 5-7)