Veronica Uribe, Author, Gloria Calderas, Illustrator , illus. by Gloria Calderón, trans. by Uribe and Elisa Amado. Groundwood $15.95 (32p) ISBN 978-0-88899-430-1

Uribe, here translating into English her original Spanish telling, opens this disjointed story with a scenario that many youngsters can identify with: a buzzing mosquito keeps a brother and sister awake at bedtime. They try diving under the covers and hiding under the bed, but to no avail. Then, in what may be a leap of logic for readers, the plot sends Juliana and Andrés outdoors into the jungle (Calderón shows them at one point wading chest-deep in the "mucky swamp"), where they attempt to enlist the help of a monkey, snake and alligator. The creatures are dozing and cannot hear their pleas ("Toothy alligator, are you deaf?"—this query becomes a refrain to each animal). Finally, an owl agrees to help the children but, instead of chasing away the mosquito, it flies them home on its back (the bothersome insect following closely behind). There, a frog sitting on their bedroom windowsill devours the mosquito. Observant readers will wonder why the frog, which was perched on the sill the entire time, did not swallow the pesky mosquito in the first place. Calderón's diverting, boldly colored pictures styled as woodcuts capture the mood of a midnight adventure, but even they cannot salvage the serpentine plot. Ages 3-5. (June)

Reviewed on: 05/28/2001
Release date: 05/01/2001
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