T%C3%ADa Isa Wants a Car

Meg Medina, illus. by Claudio Mu%C3%B1oz. Candlewick, $15.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-7636-4156-6
The strength of family and the importance of pursuing one's dreams are the bedrock of middle-grade author Medina's (Milagros: Girl from Away) lyrical first picture book, drawn from memories of her own family. Tía Isa, with whom the young narrator lives in a city apartment, is saving for a car so they can visit the beach. That desire is inextricably tied to one of the girl's own—to be reunited with her parents, who still live on their native island and receive "helping money" from their family in the U.S. (Medina is commendably subtle about the exact details, letting them unfold naturally.) Emotionally invested in her aunt's goal, the girl finds odd jobs to help save money, and they finally buy a gorgeous 1950s-era convertible with tailfins and plenty of room for the girl's parents—pictured with her at the beach in a triumphant final spread. Muñoz's (Jake's Best Thumb) wispy, pastel-hued illustrations exude emotion, from frustration ("...soon is when our family is going to join us here, so I know soon can be a very long time") to sheer exuberance. Ages 3–7. (June)
Reviewed on: 04/25/2011
Release date: 06/01/2011
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