Young Sofía walks to the bodega near her apartment to buy milk for her mom. From the sidewalk, she becomes entranced by a vibrant public mural that celebrates Puerto Rican culture.
The dancers in the mural pull Sofía in, and she finds herself transported to Puerto Rico, listening to the island’s music, singing traditional songs, and dancing with new friends. Before long, the vejigante arrives—a masked trickster who scares Sofía at first. The others encourage her to keep dancing and not to feel afraid. Soon Sofía turns into the vejigante herself, flying high above the island and eventually returning to her spot on the sidewalk. Unfortunately, the blunt narration does not rise to the imaginative and whimsical nature of the plot. Information in the backmatter reveals that illustrator Dominguez actually designed the real mural in the Bronx that inspired this story, but like the narration, her images in this picture book don’t quite capture the magic of the mural they depict. Though the mural is described as full of movement, the illustrations are static and flat. Ventura’s Spanish translation appears below the English text on the verso, while Dominguez’s full-bleed paintings occupy the recto of every spread.
Overall, this serves more as an overt endorsement for public art than a fully engaging and nuanced story for children. (glossary) (Bilingual picture book. 5-8)