QUINCEAÑERA MEANS SWEET 15

In this stand-alone sequel to Marisol & Magdalena (not reviewed), Marisol has returned from her sojourn to Panama City and is once again inseparable from her best friend, Magda. At the beginning of their freshman year, the two girls, now 14, are planning their quinceañera a celebration of their 15th birthdays. For Marisol, planning a quinceañera is more like a daydream since she and her single mother have little to spend on an extravagant party. More disappointments ensue for Marisol when her mother starts to date a man who insists on calling her pet names like "Marisolita"; she continues to miss the father who abandoned her; and Magda drops their friendship when she takes up with new friends who shoplift and find Marisol uncool. Despite these hardships, like Cinderella, Marisol goes to her party with the help of family, friends, and neighbors, and has a charming new beau by her side. Chambers uses the quinceañera and family traditions to introduce Latin American heritage and the concept of community. Marisol also explores what it means to be a Latina, which she finds is a term applied loosely to encompass diverse Hispanic backgrounds. Young female readers will marvel at the details of Marisol's quinceañera and will cheer Marisol on, as her special evening becomes a fairy tale come true. (Fiction. 11-13)

Pub Date: March 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-7868-0497-1

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2001

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THE COLORS OF US

This vibrant, thoughtful book from Katz (Over the Moon, 1997) continues her tribute to her adopted daughter, Lena, born in Guatemala. Lena is “seven. I am the color of cinnamon. Mom says she could eat me up”; she learns during a painting lesson that to get the color brown, she will have to “mix red, yellow, black, and white paints.” They go for a walk to observe the many shades of brown: they see Sonia, who is the color of creamy peanut butter; Isabella, who is chocolate brown; Lucy, both peachy and tan; Jo-Jin, the color of honey; Kyle, “like leaves in fall”; Mr. Pellegrino, the color of pizza crust, golden brown. Lena realizes that every shade is beautiful, then mixes her paints accordingly for portraits of her friends—“The colors of us!” Bold illustrations celebrate diversity with a child’s open-hearted sensibility and a mother’s love. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-8050-5864-8

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1999

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LAUGH-ETERIA

Florian’s seventh collection of verse is also his most uneven; though the flair for clever rhyme that consistently lights up his other books, beginning with Monster Motel (1993), occasionally shows itself—“Hello, my name is Dracula/My clothing is all blackula./I drive a Cadillacula./I am a maniacula”—too many of the entries are routine limericks, putdowns, character portraits, rhymed lists that fall flat on the ear, or quick quips: “It’s hard to be anonymous/When you’re a hippopotamus.” Florian’s language and simple, thick-lined cartoons illustrations are equally ingenuous, and he sticks to tried-and-true subjects, from dinosaurs to school lunch, but the well of inspiration seems dry; revisit his hilarious Bing Bang Boing (1994) instead. (index) (Poetry. 8-10)

Pub Date: April 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-15-202084-5

Page Count: 158

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1999

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