THE SECRET FOOTPRINTS

Recalling childhood tales from the Dominican Republic, the author of the adult In the Name of Salomé (p. 492), etc., crafts an atmospheric encounter between a human boy and a beautiful member of the ciguapas, the sea people. Though the ciguapas have a secret defense against capture—their feet are on backwards, so their trail always leads away from their actual path—only one, Guapa, is not shy and fearful of humans. One time, creeping up to a house to investigate the clothing hanging on the line, she catches sight of a lad, who calls out to her before she flees. Another day, she trips while spying on him, but knowing the danger her people would face if their secret were discovered, she tricks the boy into letting her escape. Though they never again meet, Guapa leaves him a shell as a token, and ever after she finds tasty pastelitos in the clothing hung out to dry. Thick-limbed figures with flowing black hair and clear brown skin tones grace Negrin’s (Dora’s Box, 1998) lush, richly colored tropical scenes. Not a conventional romance, perhaps, but there’s a romantic quality to the story and illustrations both. (afterword) (Picture book. 7-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-679-89309-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2000

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TOMAS AND THE LIBRARY LADY

A charming, true story about the encounter between the boy who would become chancellor at the University of California at Riverside and a librarian in Iowa. Tom†s Rivera, child of migrant laborers, picks crops in Iowa in the summer and Texas in the winter, traveling from place to place in a worn old car. When he is not helping in the fields, Tom†s likes to hear Papa Grande's stories, which he knows by heart. Papa Grande sends him to the library downtown for new stories, but Tom†s finds the building intimidating. The librarian welcomes him, inviting him in for a cool drink of water and a book. Tom†s reads until the library closes, and leaves with books checked out on the librarian's own card. For the rest of the summer, he shares books and stories with his family, and teaches the librarian some Spanish. At the end of the season, there are big hugs and a gift exchange: sweet bread from Tom†s's mother and a shiny new book from the librarianto keep. Col¢n's dreamy illustrations capture the brief friendship and its life-altering effects in soft earth tones, using round sculptured shapes that often depict the boy right in the middle of whatever story realm he's entered. (Picture book. 7-10)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 1997

ISBN: 0-679-80401-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1997

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RIVER STORY

Trickling, bubbling, swirling, rushing, a river flows down from its mountain beginnings, past peaceful country and bustling city on its way to the sea. Hooper (The Drop in My Drink, 1998, etc.) artfully evokes the water’s changing character as it transforms from “milky-cold / rattling-bold” to a wide, slow “sliding past mudflats / looping through marshes” to the end of its journey. Willey, best known for illustrating Geraldine McCaughrean’s spectacular folk-tale collections, contributes finely detailed scenes crafted in shimmering, intricate blues and greens, capturing mountain’s chill, the bucolic serenity of passing pastures, and a sense of mystery in the water’s shadowy depths. Though Hooper refers to “the cans and cartons / and bits of old wood” being swept along, there’s no direct conservation agenda here (for that, see Debby Atwell’s River, 1999), just appreciation for the river’s beauty and being. (Picture book/nonfiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: June 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-7636-0792-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2000

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