Returning with his second picture book, Lopez (Mud Tacos, 2009) stresses the importance of family.
Preoccupied with his approaching birthday, Mario cannot find anyone to play with. His sister Marissa and cousin Rosie are having a girls-only tea party in the backyard, while his cousin Chico has baseball practice. Mario is not exactly happy when Nana suggests that he help out by watching his baby cousin, Gia. He begrudgingly agrees, as “[h]e knew he should be responsible.” The exasperation that comes with entertaining a toddler quickly becomes clear in various scenes. Gia keeps calling him “Marigold.” Playing ball in the backyard ends in chaos, and during snacktime, Gia is more interested in playing with her bowl than she is with actually eating. When Mario tries to read Gia a book, she tears a page, leaving Mario frustrated. His anger swiftly melts when Gia asks for a story, and he tells her all about his adventures with his sister and the other cousins. “You’ll see. You’re a part of our family. We’ll teach you everything you need to know.” The book concludes with a joint surprise birthday party for both Gia and Mario. Roos continues the commercial-looking cartoon-style illustrations from the earlier Mario book, which work well with the story, particularly during Mario’s stories.
A good choice for children with younger siblings and cousins, especially Latinos. (Picture book. 3-7)