HAT BAD CARLOS by Mina Lewiton
Kirkus Star


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Do not make trouble, Carlos."" This is a familiar admonition repeated at regular intervals as the Miraflores family journeys from Puerto Rico to New York; ten-year-old Carlos has always had a talent for trouble. New York gives him scope. His father has come with his whole family to take over Uncle Jorge's grocery store temporarily -- not to stay. Drawing their neighborhood as no better and no worse than it is, the author presents a crowded quarter where life is lived partly on the sidewalk and partly indoors; where everybody is quick to comment on everyone else's affairs; where small concerns grow, through impassioned oratory, to large troubles--often for Carlos, who welcomes it in his imagination. ""I will be a bad guy. I will join a gang... It is possible I will rob banks."" He's seen this all on TV in a store window and the dashing crook had a motorcycle. He's actually quite a good guy who loves bicycles and his nerves aren't up to the occasions on which he learns that borrowing without permission -- even with the intention of return -- can also be called stealing. The warmth, color and excitement of the grocery's customers, his new school and the city streets are all here as Carlos and his family experience city living; these small adventures, are funny and touching. Using a stilted dialogue that catches the flavor of the formality of spoken Spanish, the vocabulary reads easily for Carlos' contemporaries. Of course the Miraflores family stays. Hopefully, there will be more stories about them.

Publisher: Harper & Row