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CCBC (Cooperative Children's Book Center Choices, 1998)
Rosita loved being with her abuelita (grandmother) each day. She loved "the soap scent of Abuelita's everyday dress...and the strong warmth of her grandmother's arms." She loved what they did together, such as preparing tortillas, making up songs, and weeding the chiles in the garden. One day Abuelita taught Rosita how to braid a strong cord from three overlapping strands. After Abuelita's illness and death, Rosita became heartbroken. As the family prepared for the annual Day of the Dead observances by cooking, carving, weaving, and gardening, Rosita couldn't seem to think of an appropriate ofrenda (gift for the family altar) to create in Abuelita's memory. The harder Rosita tried the more difficult it was for her to sense Abuelita's presence, until she remembered the cord Abuelita had taught her to braid. Chapman's muted mixed media illustrations on cast paper suggest three dimensions in an affectionate bilingual story about the endurance of family memory. CCBC categories: Seasons and Celebrations. 1998, Rising Moon/Northland, 32 pages, $15.95. Ages 6-9.
Publishers Weekly (Publishers Weekly)
First-time illustrator Chapman's inventive full-page collagelike tableaux distinguish this otherwise flat bilingual story. Luenn's (Squish! A Wetland Walk) narrative conveys only a glimmer of the relationship between young Rosita and her grandmother, Abuelita, before the woman dies; she relies on the metaphor of braiding to carry readers through the explanation of customs for the Mexican celebration of the dead. The story opens with Abuelita teaching Rosita that "one strand alone can be broken, but when they are woven together, they make a cord that is strong. Like my love for you and your love for me." The tale suffers from a number of awkward transitions and clumsy sentences (e.g., one page begins with "Abuelita scolded the day she discovered Rosita pulling up plants in the garden" and ends with Abuelita's death). The illustrations create the warmth between characters absent from the text; Chapman casts wet paper pulp in molds then glues numerous layers into a wooden frame, giving the compositions the feel of embroidered quilts. Beads, twine and wooden figurines complete these intriguing, complex creations, apt for a story of handcrafted gifts. A brief author's note explains some of the particulars of the Day of the Dead, yet a few phrases will remain a mystery to children (as when Rosita's family buys "bread of the dead" at market). The artwork is the real gift here. Ages 5-8. (Nov.)
Janice M. Del Negro (The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, January 1999 (Vol. 52, No. 5))
Rosita and her grandmother are very close, and they spend much time together as grandmother teaches Rosita what is a weed and what isnít, how to make tortillas, and how to braid. Abuelita is going to teach Rosita to make salsa, but before she can, she dies, leaving Rosita sad and lonely. Celebrating the Day of the Dead gives Rosita and her family a chance to remember those they love who are gone, and the realization that ďlike the braid, the cord of their love was too strong to be brokenĒ brings comfort to the young girl mourning her grandmother. Luennís warm, conversational style communicates the process of grief and acceptance with a minimum of sentimentality, clearly placing Rosita and her sorrow at the center of her comforting family and this story as well. Chapmanís illustrations, a sort of bas-relief in cast paper with three-dimensional details provided by seeds, cord, and other found objects, has a dense richness that suits the content and pace of the story. The text, in English and in Spanish, is laid out in framed text boxes with decorative detailing. Authorís and illustratorís notes are included, as is a brief glossary. Review Code: R -- Recommended. (c) Copyright 1999, The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois. 1998, Rising Moon, 32p, $15.95. Grades 2-5.
|Language||Call Number||LCCN||Dewey Decimal||ISBN/ISSN|
|English (eng)||PZ73 .L814 1998