The Fabulous Firework Family: Story and Pictures by

James Flora, Author Margaret K. McElderry Books $14.95 (1p) ISBN 978-0-689-50596-6
A new version (both text and art have been completely redone) of a title first published in 1955, this jaunty picture book introduces readers to a Mexican tradition--and to a smattering of Spanish vocabulary. To celebrate the birthday of Santiago, patron saint of the village, the Firework Maestro is asked to stage ``the biggest and best BOOM! BAM! POW! firework fiesta ever made!'' Aided by his wife and two children, the Maestro constructs a firework castillo (a tall bamboo frame onto which various gunpowder-filled figures are tied). Spanish words sprinkle Flora's narrative and adorn his stylized pen-and-watercolor pictures, while a south-of-the-border intensity heats up Flora's palette and compositions. After the elaborate preparations, the festival itself attracts pilgrims from all over Mexico. The story loses some focus with a tangent about a pickpocket loose in the throng, but the art becomes increasingly dramatic, climaxing in vibrant and highly patterned views of the fireworks. Aspiring linguists, however, should note that no pronunciation guide accompanies the plentiful Spanish vocabulary. Ages 5-9. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 02/28/1994
Release date: 03/01/1994
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