NIÑO WRESTLES THE WORLD

Little luchador Niño battles out-of-this-world opponents one by one until he finally meets his match.

Niño has a big imagination and a love of lucha libre, the popular Mexican masked wrestling. While his sisters nap, he becomes an impressive luchador, facing competitors often drawn from Mexican history and folklore. The text, unfolding as if by a commentator calling the action, begs to be read aloud. Challengers are vanquished not by violence but by gentle horseplay and clever wit—until Niño meets Las Hermanitas, awake from their naps, and must quickly devise a new strategy to take on such crafty adversaries. A multiple Pura Belpré medal winner, Morales’ (Just in Case, 2008, etc.) style of illustration continues to evolve with this title. She uses a graphic approach reminiscent of a comic book, with speech bubbles and sound effects, a smart choice for moving along the action of the plot. This design will appeal to children who may struggle to find picture books that match their interests and energy level, especially boys. Trading-card–style introductions to each opponent on the endpapers include pronunciation guidance for Spanish names. Occasional challenges with text placement and page flow keep this title from being flawless, but young readers will be so engrossed with this humorous story that these issues are easy to overlook.

Sure to be a smash. (author’s note) (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: June 11, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-59643-604-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Neal Porter/Roaring Brook

Review Posted Online: March 20, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2013

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This warm family story is a splendid showcase for the combined talents of Medina, a Pura Belpré award winner, and Dominguez,...

MANGO, ABUELA, AND ME

Abuela is coming to stay with Mia and her parents. But how will they communicate if Mia speaks little Spanish and Abuela, little English? Could it be that a parrot named Mango is the solution?

The measured, evocative text describes how Mia’s español is not good enough to tell Abuela the things a grandmother should know. And Abuela’s English is too poquito to tell Mia all the stories a granddaughter wants to hear. Mia sets out to teach her Abuela English. A red feather Abuela has brought with her to remind her of a wild parrot that roosted in her mango trees back home gives Mia an idea. She and her mother buy a parrot they name Mango. And as Abuela and Mia teach Mango, and each other, to speak both Spanish and English, their “mouths [fill] with things to say.” The accompanying illustrations are charmingly executed in ink, gouache, and marker, “with a sprinkling of digital magic.” They depict a cheery urban neighborhood and a comfortable, small apartment. Readers from multigenerational immigrant families will recognize the all-too-familiar language barrier. They will also cheer for the warm and loving relationship between Abuela and Mia, which is evident in both text and illustrations even as the characters struggle to understand each other. A Spanish-language edition, Mango, Abuela, y yo, gracefully translated by Teresa Mlawer, publishes simultaneously.

This warm family story is a splendid showcase for the combined talents of Medina, a Pura Belpré award winner, and Dominguez, an honoree. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 25, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-7636-6900-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2015

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The snappy text will get toes tapping, but the information it carries is limited.

LET'S DANCE!

Dancing is one of the most universal elements of cultures the world over.

In onomatopoeic, rhyming text, Bolling encourages readers to dance in styles including folk dance, classical ballet, breakdancing, and line dancing. Read aloud, the zippy text will engage young children: “Tappity Tap / Fingers Snap,” reads the rhyme on the double-page spread for flamenco; “Jiggity-Jig / Zig-zag-zig” describes Irish step dancing. The ballet pages stereotypically include only children in dresses or tutus, but one of these dancers wears hijab. Overall, children included are racially diverse and vary in gender presentation. Diaz’s illustrations show her background in animated films; her active child dancers generally have the large-eyed sameness of cartoon characters. The endpapers, with shoes and musical instruments, could become a matching game with pages in the book. The dances depicted are described at the end, including kathak from India and kuku from Guinea, West Africa. Unfortunately, these explanations are quite rudimentary. Kathak dancers use their facial expressions extensively in addition to the “movements of their hands and their jingling feet,” as described in the book. Although today kuku is danced at all types of celebrations in several countries, it was once done after fishing, an activity acknowledged in the illustrations but not mentioned in the explanatory text.

The snappy text will get toes tapping, but the information it carries is limited. (Informational picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-63592-142-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Boyds Mills

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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