Kirkus Reviews QR Code
THUMBS UP, RICO! by Maria Testa


by Maria Testa & illustrated by Diane Paterson

Age Range: 5 - 11

Pub Date: March 1st, 1994
ISBN: 0-8075-7906-8
Publisher: Whitman

 Rico, who has Down syndrome, creates a likable self-portrait in three brief chapters. ``The First Time I Met Caesar,'' he explains, the other boy called him ``Dummy'' and ridiculed his playing basketball, but after several encounters Rico's persistent cheerfulness--and real ability with the ball--enables the two to make friends. In ``Something for Nina,'' Rico comes to realize that his loyal older sister sometimes needs time with her own friends. And in ``Rico's Slam Dunk,'' the boy finally makes a drawing that satisfies him enough that he's proud to display it at school. Testa's phrasing is simplicity itself, yet she portrays Rico's emotions and his self-reliant approach to problems with poignant subtlety. Paterson's broadly rendered realistic paintings, which appear on a majority of the spreads, enhance appeal. An upbeat story that will find many uses, as a hi-lo, a young reader, or a readaloud. (Fiction. 5-11)