A vibrant, reverent celebration of the godfather of salsa.

TITO PUENTE, MAMBO KING / TITO PUENTE, REY DEL MAMBO

Brown and López, who previously teamed for the award-winning My Name Is Celia (2004), collaborate anew in this energetic bilingual tribute to the salsa drummer and band leader extraordinaire.

Brown’s narrative, simply phrased and peppered with exclamation points, takes her preschool and primary audience from Tito’s toddlerhood, banging “spoons and forks on pots and pans,” through childhood loves: drum lessons, dancing and stickball on the streets of Harlem. Bouncing through the musician’s adulthood, Brown highlights early gigs, a Navy stint (where he learned to play sax) and regular shows at the Palladium in New York City. Puente’s dream of heading his own band comes true in a single page turn (though López’s depiction of the now white-haired drummer does attest to time’s passage). A percussive refrain, fun to read and hear, pops up as part of the Spanish text but resonates in either language: “¡Tum Tica! / ¡Tac Tic! / ¡Tum Tic! / ¡Tom Tom!” López’s pictures, layered acrylics on prepared wooden boards, convey salsa’s rhythmic exuberance via a riotous palette that includes electric orange, chocolate brown, pale teal, and touches of pink and purple. Multihued swirls and plumes emanate from Tito’s timbales and drumsticks; Celia Cruz (a frequent collaborator) soars in a costume whose fuchsia feathers seem to morph from the sea green waves below.

A vibrant, reverent celebration of the godfather of salsa.   (biographical note; brief musical notation for rumba beat included in the text) (Bilingual picture book/biography. 4-8)

Pub Date: March 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-06-122783-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Rayo/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Jan. 16, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2013

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

Google Rating

  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • New York Times Bestseller

BECAUSE I HAD A TEACHER

A paean to teachers and their surrogates everywhere.

This gentle ode to a teacher’s skill at inspiring, encouraging, and being a role model is spoken, presumably, from a child’s viewpoint. However, the voice could equally be that of an adult, because who can’t look back upon teachers or other early mentors who gave of themselves and offered their pupils so much? Indeed, some of the self-aware, self-assured expressions herein seem perhaps more realistic as uttered from one who’s already grown. Alternatively, readers won’t fail to note that this small book, illustrated with gentle soy-ink drawings and featuring an adult-child bear duo engaged in various sedentary and lively pursuits, could just as easily be about human parent- (or grandparent-) child pairs: some of the softly colored illustrations depict scenarios that are more likely to occur within a home and/or other family-oriented setting. Makes sense: aren’t parents and other close family members children’s first teachers? This duality suggests that the book might be best shared one-on-one between a nostalgic adult and a child who’s developed some self-confidence, having learned a thing or two from a parent, grandparent, older relative, or classroom instructor.

A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-943200-08-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Visually accomplished but marred by stereotypical cultural depictions.

HOME

Ellis, known for her illustrations for Colin Meloy’s Wildwood series, here riffs on the concept of “home.”

Shifting among homes mundane and speculative, contemporary and not, Ellis begins and ends with views of her own home and a peek into her studio. She highlights palaces and mansions, but she also takes readers to animal homes and a certain famously folkloric shoe (whose iconic Old Woman manages a passel of multiethnic kids absorbed in daring games). One spread showcases “some folks” who “live on the road”; a band unloads its tour bus in front of a theater marquee. Ellis’ compelling ink and gouache paintings, in a palette of blue-grays, sepia and brick red, depict scenes ranging from mythical, underwater Atlantis to a distant moonscape. Another spread, depicting a garden and large building under connected, transparent domes, invites readers to wonder: “Who in the world lives here? / And why?” (Earth is seen as a distant blue marble.) Some of Ellis’ chosen depictions, oddly juxtaposed and stripped of any historical or cultural context due to the stylized design and spare text, become stereotypical. “Some homes are boats. / Some homes are wigwams.” A sailing ship’s crew seems poised to land near a trio of men clad in breechcloths—otherwise unidentified and unremarked upon.

Visually accomplished but marred by stereotypical cultural depictions. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 24, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-7636-6529-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Nov. 18, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2014

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more