cover image Paletero Man

Paletero Man

Lucky Diaz, illus. by Micah Player. HarperCollins, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-06-301444-2

Inspired by the Lucky Band’s song of the same name, Latin Grammy Award–winning musician Diaz pens a bouncy rhyming narrative from the first-person perspective of a dark-haired, light brown–skinned Los Angeles resident. Intent on securing an icy paleta on the hottest day of the year, the child races down the street, greeting tattooed Tío Ernesto at his tamale cart, bespectacled Ms. Lee at her Korean barbecue taco restaurant, and Frank, a Black man who works at the bicycle shop. As the child searches on, Diaz offers a rousing refrain throughout the bilingual narrative: “Can you hear his call?/ Paletas for one!/ Paletas for all!” When the child realizes their paleta money is missing, the community members come together in a satisfying close. Player adds dynamic spreads in bright hues that often illuminate the untranslated Spanish. A wonderfully executed treat of a book with a sweet community focus. Back matter includes a heartwarming author’s note on the origins of the book and song, revealing Los Angeles’ Eighth Street as inspiration. Ages 4–8. [em](June) [/em]