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THE PERFECT PIÑATA, LA PIÑATA PERFECTA by Kelli Kyle Dominguez

THE PERFECT PIÑATA, LA PIÑATA PERFECTA

By Kelli Kyle Dominguez (Author) , Diane Paterson (Illustrator) , Teresa Mlawer (Translator)

Age Range: 5 - 8

Pub Date: March 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-8075-6495-8
Publisher: Whitman

A week before her sixth birthday, Marisa’s mother takes her to pick out a piñata. Trouble is, Marisa grows so accustomed to the beautiful butterfly—admiring it on her dresser, including it at her tea party, and taking it to the playground, among other things—that she can’t bring herself to break it apart on the day of the party. In her debut work for children, Dominguez casts English and Spanish text side-by-side to create a pleasing bilingual tale. Marked by corresponding blue and orange stars, careful readers can compare the words in the two languages. Describing the party, for example, Dominguez writes: “Soon the smell of food filled the air. There were tamales, rice, beans, and crispy buñuelos.” On the next page: “Pronto el aire se llenó con el olor de la comida. Había tamales, arroz, frijoles y buñuelos crujientes.” Similarly, English and Spanish words are repeated within the text (“Hello, friend! ¡Hola, amiga!” and “Happy birthday! ¡Feliz cumpleaños!”). Paterson’s (All Kinds of Children, not reviewed, etc.) expressive watercolors, similar in style to Bruce Degan’s Magic School Bus illustrations, picture the parent’s solution: a candy- and toy-filled garbage bag decorated with a smiley face and the words “Hit me, please!” replaces Marisa’s prized piñata. While the storyline isn’t especially inspired, the translation serves as an engaging counterpoint, making this a solid addition to multicultural and ESL collections. (Picture book. 5-8)