EL PERRO CON SOMBRERO

A BILINGUAL DOGGY TALE

Move over, Puss in Boots and Cat in the Hat; now there’s el Perro con Sombrero and el Gato con Zapatos.

Pepe is a homeless, hungry, and very sad dog until a fancy sombrero lands on his head. Almost immediately, a grocer spots him and is so impressed by this handsome canine that he gives Pepe a bone. A movie director in a flashy sports car then demands that Pepe star in his movies. From Westerns to comedies, Pepe’s a box office hit. But despite the monetary windfall and fancy digs, he still yearns for a family and a real home. Enter el gato—the jealous movie star Pepe has displaced. Wearing fabulous, zoot suit–ready purple shoes, the cat steals the sombrero. The chase is on! Apples tumble down supermarket aisles, popcorn rains over movie theater seats, a wedding cake meets its doom, and finally, the line is drawn in a park sandbox. Claws and fangs at 20 paces. Henry’s retro-style mixed-media illustrations—pencil, watercolor, and digitalized watercolor—neatly suit Kent’s spunky, lighthearted, fully bilingual story. Lugo’s translation appears in red type beneath Kent’s English text, paragraph by paragraph.

A nifty bilingual treat. (Picture book. 5-10)

Pub Date: May 5, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-8050-9989-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Feb. 16, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2015

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Celebrate a truly accepting multicultural character.

LOLA LEVINE IS NOT MEAN!

From the Lola Levine series , Vol. 1

Brown introduces a smart, young protagonist with a multicultural background in this series opener for chapter-book readers.

Second-grader Lola Levine is half-Peruvian and half-Jewish; she is a skilled soccer player, a persuasive writer, and aspires to own a cat in the near future should her parents concede. During a friendly recess soccer match, Lola, playing goalie, defends an incoming ball by coming out of her box and accidentally fouls a classmate. And so Lola acquires the rhyming nickname Mean Lola Levine. Through Lola’s first-person narration, readers see clearly how her savvy and creativity come from her family: Dad, who paints, Mom, who writes, and a fireball younger brother. She also wears her bicultural identity easily. In her narration, her letters to her friends, and dialogue, Lola easily inserts such words as diario, tía, bubbe, and shalom. For dinner, the family eats matzo ball soup, Peruvian chicken, and flan. Interspersed throughout the story are references to all-star soccer athletes, from Brazilian master Pelé to Mia Hamm, Briana Scurry, and David Beckham. Dominguez’s black-and-white illustrations are cheery and appealing, depicting a long-haired Caucasian father and dark-skinned, black-haired mother. Typefaces that emulate penmanship appropriately differ from character to character: Lola’s is small and clean, her mother’s is tall and slanted, while Juan’s, the injured classmate, is sloppy and lacks finesse.

Celebrate a truly accepting multicultural character. (Fiction. 6-10)

Pub Date: Nov. 3, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-316-25836-4

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Aug. 12, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2015

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Hee haw.

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THE WONKY DONKEY

The print version of a knee-slapping cumulative ditty.

In the song, Smith meets a donkey on the road. It is three-legged, and so a “wonky donkey” that, on further examination, has but one eye and so is a “winky wonky donkey” with a taste for country music and therefore a “honky-tonky winky wonky donkey,” and so on to a final characterization as a “spunky hanky-panky cranky stinky-dinky lanky honky-tonky winky wonky donkey.” A free musical recording (of this version, anyway—the author’s website hints at an adults-only version of the song) is available from the publisher and elsewhere online. Even though the book has no included soundtrack, the sly, high-spirited, eye patch–sporting donkey that grins, winks, farts, and clumps its way through the song on a prosthetic metal hoof in Cowley’s informal watercolors supplies comical visual flourishes for the silly wordplay. Look for ready guffaws from young audiences, whether read or sung, though those attuned to disability stereotypes may find themselves wincing instead or as well.

Hee haw. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: May 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-545-26124-1

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 29, 2018

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