A 1935 collaboration between two Harlem Renaissance poets (who had three years earlier published Popo and Fifina), this deceptively simple story was initially rejected by a publisher and, decades later, donated to Yale by Hughes. The winsome tale of the friendship that flourishes between a Mexican boy and a boy from America has a timely message for today's youngsters. Set in Taxco, Mexico, and alternating between the voices of young Juanito Perez and Tito, the beloved papier-mache figurine he eventually gives to his American friend, the narrative provides a youthful perspective on the country's cultural traditions. The authors focus on such child-pleasing topics as holidays, food and learning to communicate, as the boys teach each other key words in Spanish and English--while gently underscoring the importance of tolerance, self-esteem and sharing. Exploding with vivid colors and fanciful patterns, Turley's (Armadillo Ray) full-bleed stylized paintings have a playful, collage-like quality; her black-and-white spot art breaks up some of the more text-laden pages. It's easy to believe that Bontemps and Hughes would be delighted with this animated volume--and that readers will be, too. Ages 8-12. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 11/03/1997 Release date: 11/01/1997 Genre:
During the Covid-19 crisis, Publishers Weekly is providing free digital access to our magazine, archive, and website. To receive the access to the latest issue delivered to your inbox free each week, enter your email below.