The details of life in a New Mexico village ring with authenticity but Anaya's first picture book reads more like an anthropological exercise than a holiday tale. Luz is worried because her grandfather's weakness prevents him from preparing luminarias, the small bonfires that will guide a group reenacting the journey of the shepherds at the first Christmas to their door. Luz invents farolitos, candles placed in paper bags that line the path to and walls of their home. This tale has fascinating elements but it takes too long to get to them; the dialogue between Luz and her grandfather sounds less like family conversation and more like a reporter interviewing a native person about his culture. The dramatic addition of Luz's father's return from war in time for Christmas seems forced. Newcomer Gonzales provides accomplished landscapes and the carefully sculpted faces of Luz and her family glow in the light of the farolitos.