The young narrator of this poignant picture book discovers that the best gifts are not always store-bought. Cecilia is stumped when it comes to getting a present for her great aunt's 90th birthday. She finally settles on filling a basket with reminders of all the good times Tia and she have shared. A mixing bowl recalls days spent baking cookies; a teacup holds memories of the special brew Tia prepares when Cecilia is sick. The thoughtful present is a hit when Tia unveils it at her surprise party. Mora's text flows smoothly from one event to the next, and clearly presents the careful planning behind Cecilia's gift-gathering mission. Repetition of the items inside the basket and the occasional use of Spanish words are helpful reinforcements for young readers. Two cavils: Mora's text tends to go on a bit too long, and the many asides Cecilia addresses to her cat Chica become somewhat intrusive as the story progresses. Lang's cut-paper illustrations provide a vivid picture of a diverse and dynamic Mexican American family. Warm brown skin tones contrast nicely with bold reds, blues and oranges to lend additional Latin flavor. Ages 2-6. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 08/31/1992 Release date: 09/01/1992 Genre: Children's
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