As the title suggests, Thong and Ballesteros celebrate a Latino holiday that, though it is becoming increasingly more popular in all parts of the United States, is still somewhat misunderstood by non-Latino Americans.
Thong (Green is a Chile Pepper, 2014, etc.) once again proves her mastery at creating a multicultural picture-book text that engages all readers. With an upbeat, celebratory tone, the collaborators introduce many of the traditions and images associated with Día de los Muertos, known in English as the Day of the Dead. “At home we’ve adorned our altares with care. / They’re heaped with recuerdos and good things to share….” The rhyme is rhythmic and effortless, making it a delightful read-aloud. The interspersed Spanish words are defined contextually rather than repeated in translation; this makes the text easy to understand regardless of readers’ language skills and keeps it from feeling redundant for bilingual readers. Ballesteros’ animated illustrations provide images of the Spanish vocabulary in many of the depicted scenes. Readers will feel the festive remembrance of loved ones who have passed. A glossary at the end provides explicit English definitions of the Spanish words, but it unfortunately lacks any pronunciation guide.
This enchanting presentation of the Día de los Muertos holiday will resonate with both those who are new to its traditions and those who have been celebrating for generations. (Picture book. 3-7)