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NACHO AND LOLITA by Pam Muñoz Ryan Kirkus Star


by & illustrated by

Age Range: 4 - 8

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2005
ISBN: 0-439-26968-7
Publisher: Scholastic

Ryan weaves a story remembered from childhood, some folktale research and a vibrant dose of imagination into a lovely tale of magic and longing. In the valley of San Juan in California, Nacho, a pitacoche bird with all “the colors of the world in his feathers,” sings at sunset in the churchyard, which is dry and grey. However, he enjoys the company of the people awaiting the return of the swallows on St. Joseph’s day. When he offers a little swallow named Lolita one of his blue feathers, it becomes a hibiscus, and Nacho doesn’t even mind that a grey feather grows back in its place. But autumn comes, Lolita must fly south and Nacho is too big a bird for that much flying. Before the next St. Joseph’s feast, Nacho scatters his feathers everywhere and they turn to flowers, trees and blue rivers. The land becomes lush and Nacho learns that Lolita finds him splendid even without his colors. Rueda’s colored-pencil images are exquisitely textured, from the rough bark of a tree to the brilliance of Nacho’s feathers, as soft and richly hued as silk. A cheerful and tender paean to the transformative power of love. (author’s note) (Picture book. 4-8)