MAMA DOES THE MAMBO by Katherine Leiner

MAMA DOES THE MAMBO

by & illustrated by
Age Range: 5 - 9
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

“After Papa died, Mama stopped dancing.” With these opening words, Leiner sets the context, but not the mood of her story. The place is Havana, Cuba, and a girl—Sofia—longs to see her mother fill her life with dance again. Once she danced everywhere, while doing the laundry and sweeping the courtyard and preparing food, but most wonderfully with Papa during the evening and especially at Carnival. They would step out to the merengue, the tango, the rumba, the chachacha, and their favorite, the mambo. The time has come for Mama to put on those dancing shoes again, say her neighbors to Sofia, and word goes out. Men come to court her, but none has what it takes to move her feet, let alone her heart—except Eduardo. He’s a good man, but unfortunately, he has two left feet, and really awkward left feet at that: the rhythm doesn’t flow, and toes get crunched. (This is okay, though, for Eduardo is a genius at that other passion—food.) So when Mama agrees to go to Carnival with Eduardo, the two of them sway gently to the music, both feet firmly on the ground. And when the mambo rings the night air, it is Sofia that Mama motions to come join her in dance. Rodriguez’s illustrations, with their soft pastels and sharp black linework, have the transporting power of old postage stamps, getting the atmosphere of Havana just right, as Leiner gently works the chords of familial love, conveying the sense of continuity that does the heart such good. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-7868-0646-X
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Hyperion
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15th, 2001




MORE BY EDEL RODRIGUEZ

ChildrenTHE MYSTERY OF DARWIN'S FROG by Marty Crump
by Marty Crump