This multicultural take on a Busytown sort of place is rife with opportunities for I-spy reading and language acquisition.
The multigeneration, multiethnic Palabra family lives in a house that buzzes with activity. A helpful title-page illustration first introduces Mom, Dad, Pop Pop, Sam, May, Felix and Zanzibar the cat. There’s also an anthropomorphic crocodile named Crunchy—this is the only clear instance of fantasy to enter the little world, and while it might be intended for comic relief from page to page, it ends up undermining the earnest multicultural worldbuilding of the rest of the book. Multiracial families, same-sex couples, people using wheelchairs and others wearing hijab are just a few examples of the diversity of humanity that is included in the pictures, and Crunchy ends up seeming simply intrusive. Most of the story follows Pop Pop, Sam, Maya and, alas, Crunchy, as they go out into their town to visit the library, play in the park and have lunch. The brief narrative text introduces these activities, but the aim of the book is to invite perusal of spreads that are jam-packed with detailed, labeled pictures of people, places and things in the community. The boldly colored art adopts a naïve style with a folk-art sensibility that is accessible and engaging.
A fine addition to the word-book shelf, aside from that crocodile. (Picture book. 5-8)