ADELITA

A MEXICAN CINDERELLA STORY

Placing this Cinderella variation in upper-class Mexico in the last century, dePaola (A New Barker in the House, p. 409, etc.) has framed the story in a more realistic vein than usual. There are no magical elements, yet the prolific author-illustrator weaves together a very satisfying tale of the beautiful and good Adelita and her sweet young man, Javier, a childhood friend. The fairy godmother is a faithful servant who has always worked for the Mercado family. The dress belonged to Adelita’s mother and instead of the glass slipper, Adelita uses her beautiful rebozo, a shawl covered in birds and flowers, to lead her rich young gentleman back to her after she leaves the fiesta early. The human relationships remain the same: the evil stepmother and the selfish stepsisters are depicted here in the usual way, yet kindly Adelita invites them all to her wedding at the end. Esperanza, the servant who quietly manages to bring an end to Adelita’s sufferings, brings a cart to take her to the hacienda, not a coach made out of a pumpkin. Spanish phrases and their translations are used throughout the text and a list providing pronunciations is given at the end. The acrylic paintings are handsome and dignified, with borders of Mexican tile and many archways giving a graceful unity to dePaola’s signature characters. The rich colors change in tone as sad times, mourning, and great happiness are all depicted in different double-page spreads. The endpapers explode with the lively pattern of the all-important rebozo. Decorative objects, including religious items, pottery, Mexican crafts, and kitchenware give the illustrations an authentic touch. Heartwarming, but not sappy, this version will lead young writers off in many directions as they write their own Cinderella tales in locations of their own choosing. An enjoyable read-aloud, this is a fine addition to the author’s growing collection of stories set in Mexico. (Picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2002

ISBN: 0-399-23866-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2002

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HELLO, HARVEST MOON

As atmospheric as its companion, Twilight Comes Twice, this tone poem pairs poetically intense writing with luminescent oils featuring widely spaced houses, open lawns, and clumps of autumnal trees, all lit by a huge full moon. Fletcher tracks that moon’s nocturnal path in language rich in metaphor: “With silent slippers / it climbs the night stairs,” “staining earth and sky with a ghostly glow,” lighting up a child’s bedroom, the wings of a small plane, moonflowers, and, ranging further afield, harbor waves and the shells of turtle hatchlings on a beach. Using creamy brushwork and subtly muted colors, Kiesler depicts each landscape, each night creature from Luna moths to a sleepless child and her cat, as well as the great moon sweeping across star-flecked skies, from varied but never vertiginous angles. Closing with moonset, as dawn illuminates the world with a different kind of light, this makes peaceful reading either in season, or on any moonlit night. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 22, 2003

ISBN: 0-618-16451-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2003

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BUBBA, THE COWBOY PRINCE

A FRACTURED TEXAS TALE

A Cinderella parody features the off-the-wall, whang-dang Texas hyperbole of Ketteman (The Year of No More Corn, 1993, etc.) and the insouciance of Warhola, who proves himself only too capable of creating a fairy godcow; that she's so appealingly whimsical makes it easy to accept the classic tale's inversions. The protagonist is Bubba, appropriately downtrodden and overworked by his wicked stepdaddy and loathsome brothers Dwayne and Milton, who spend their days bossing him around. The other half of the happy couple is Miz Lurleen, who owns ``the biggest spread west of the Brazos.'' She craves male companionship to help her work the place, ``and it wouldn't hurt if he was cute as a cow's ear, either.'' There are no surprises in this version except in the hilarious way the premise plays itself out and in Warhola's delightful visual surprises. When Lurleen tracks the bootless Bubba down, ``Dwayne and Milton and their wicked daddy threw chicken fits.'' Bubba and babe, hair as big as a Texas sun, ride off to a life of happy ranching, and readers will be proud to have been along for the courtship. (Picture book/folklore. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1997

ISBN: 0-590-25506-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1997

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