A joyful celebration of Cuban tradition and family ties.


A young Cuban American child visits Abuelo in Cuba and helps him sell fruit in the street.

As Abuelo pushes a cart laden with fruit, they sing out the names of the fruit in the cart: “mango, limón, coco, melón, / naranja, toronja, plátano, piña.” Their happy voices reach far, inviting people to come and purchase. Other street vendors join in, singing out their own wares. The louder they call out, the louder Abuelo must sing. Palacios’ vibrant illustrations beautifully capture the joy and liveliness of the event. The child tells readers, “my favorite visits…are on the eve of el año nuevo” when people buy 12 grapes and make a wish, one for each month of the new year. This child’s wish, reflecting the author’s own leitmotif, is for friendship between the two countries and a time when families on both sides of the narrow strip of ocean that separates them can freely visit. In the author’s note, Engle gives some details on the travel restrictions that keep families apart as well as explaining her choice to use Spanglish in the text. Readers also learn a little more about Cuban street vendors—pregoneros—and the tradition of having grapes on New Year’s Eve. The main character has exuberant wavy black hair and brown skin like Abuelo’s; other characters reflect Cuba’s racial diversity. The story publishes simultaneously in Spanish, with a translation by Alexis Romay. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A joyful celebration of Cuban tradition and family ties. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 3, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5344-4489-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: June 1, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Intended as an amusing parody, this groans with outdated irrelevance and immaturity.


While spending the day with Grandpa, young Goldie offers tips on the care and keeping of grandparents.

Though “loyal and loving,” Goldie’s grandfather proves to be quite a character. At Grandparents Day at school, his loud greeting and incessant flatulence are embarrassing, but Goldie is confident that he—and all grandparents—can be handled with the “right care and treatment.” The young narrator notes that playtime should involve the imagination rather than technology—“and NO video games. It’s just too much for them.” Goldie observes that grandparents “live on a diet of all the things your parents tell them are bad for them” but finds that Grandpa’s favorite fast-food restaurant does make for a great meal out. The narrator advises that it’s important for grandparents to get plenty of exercise; Grandpa’s favorite moves include “the Bump, the Hustle, and the Funky Chicken.” The first-person instruction and the artwork—drawn in a childlike scrawl—portray this grandfather in a funny, though unflattering, stereotypical light as he pulls quarters from Goldie’s ears, burps on command, and invites Goldie to pull his finger. Goldie’s grandfather seems out of touch with today’s more tech-savvy and health-oriented older people who are eager to participate with their grandchildren in contemporary activities. Though some grandparent readers may chuckle, kids may wonder how this mirrors their own relationships. Goldie and Grandpa are light-skinned; Goldie’s classmates are diverse. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Intended as an amusing parody, this groans with outdated irrelevance and immaturity. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 29, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-250-24932-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: First Second

Review Posted Online: April 12, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2022

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet


Cheng’s story of a Chinese-speaking grandfather who comes to live with his daughter’s English-speaking family ably communicates the difficulties of the language barrier, and the unanticipated joys that come from working your way through that barrier. Helen is ambivalent about the arrival of her grandfather, Gong Gong, from China. She wants to know her grandfather, but she has had to surrender her room and her cherished view of the train tracks to him. Worst of all, he doesn’t understand what she says, and as she doesn’t understand him, he withdraws. Her mother says to give him some space and time. One day while Helen is sitting on the back wall, Gong Gong joins her, and together they count the train cars as the freight rumbles past. Contact. Helen learns the first eight numbers in Chinese and Gong Gong learns them in English. From there it is a short leap to Helen’s Chinese name and its Chinese characters, and then the letters used to spell Helen. That every journey starts with a first step is a commonplace conceit, but here the notion fits so snugly the point practically sings, and it feels like an adventurous beginning at that. Lushly colored artwork from Zhang is both elegant and captures the moods of tentativeness, surprise, and satisfaction. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2000

ISBN: 1-58430-010-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Lee & Low Books

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2000

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet