AMELIA’S SHOW-AND-TELL FIESTA/AMELIA Y LA FIESTA DE “MUESTRA Y CUENTA”

Amelia, a young Cuban immigrant to the US, is so excited to think of the possibilities of her first “show-and-tell” experience that she doesn’t quite get the directions down; instead of bringing something small to put in the basket and pass around the room, she wears her fiesta dress. Utterly embarrassed when she realizes her mistake, she’s at first too frightened to speak, but the swishing of her skirts against one another reminds her of the tropical breezes of home and loosens her tongue. While Amelia’s timidity is directly related to her “foreignness,” being different is an experience that all children face, and all will sympathize with her discomfort. Avilés’s rich hues suggest the tropical warmth of Cuba, and the exaggerated roundness of her faces conveys the openness of Mrs. Jenner’s multicultural classroom. Sweet-tempered and inviting, Chapra’s debut zeroes in on a common emotion, while also introducing Amelia’s Cuban culture, inserting Spanish words into the English text, and referring in passing to children named Parvati, Moyo, and Akio. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: June 1, 2004

ISBN: 0-06-050255-X

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2004

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THE BEST CHEF IN SECOND GRADE

An impending school visit by a celebrity chef sends budding cook Ollie into a tailspin. He and his classmates are supposed to bring a favorite family food for show and tell, but his family doesn’t have a clear choice—besides, his little sister Rosy doesn’t like much of anything. What to do? As in their previous two visits to Room 75, Kenah builds suspense while keeping the tone light, and Carter adds both bright notes of color and familiar home and school settings in her cartoon illustrations. Eventually, Ollie winkles favorite ingredients out of his clan, which he combines into a mac-and-cheese casserole with a face on top that draws delighted praise from the class’s renowned guest. As Ollie seems to do his kitchen work without parental assistance, a cautionary tip or two (and maybe a recipe) might not have gone amiss here, but the episode’s mouthwatering climax and resolution will guarantee smiles of contentment all around. (Easy reader. 6-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-06-053561-2

Page Count: 48

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2007

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BUBBA, THE COWBOY PRINCE

A FRACTURED TEXAS TALE

A Cinderella parody features the off-the-wall, whang-dang Texas hyperbole of Ketteman (The Year of No More Corn, 1993, etc.) and the insouciance of Warhola, who proves himself only too capable of creating a fairy godcow; that she's so appealingly whimsical makes it easy to accept the classic tale's inversions. The protagonist is Bubba, appropriately downtrodden and overworked by his wicked stepdaddy and loathsome brothers Dwayne and Milton, who spend their days bossing him around. The other half of the happy couple is Miz Lurleen, who owns ``the biggest spread west of the Brazos.'' She craves male companionship to help her work the place, ``and it wouldn't hurt if he was cute as a cow's ear, either.'' There are no surprises in this version except in the hilarious way the premise plays itself out and in Warhola's delightful visual surprises. When Lurleen tracks the bootless Bubba down, ``Dwayne and Milton and their wicked daddy threw chicken fits.'' Bubba and babe, hair as big as a Texas sun, ride off to a life of happy ranching, and readers will be proud to have been along for the courtship. (Picture book/folklore. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1997

ISBN: 0-590-25506-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1997

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