cover image The Skirt

The Skirt

Gary Soto. Delacorte Press Books for Young Readers, $14.99 (80pp) ISBN 978-0-385-30665-2

Miata is proud of her family's Mexican heritage. Lately, she has been practicing with her folklorico dance troupe for a performance, and she has even brought her costume to school to show her classmates. But on the Friday before the show Miata forgets her decorative skirt on the school bus. Afraid to tell her parents about her mistake, the girl enlists her friend Ana in a bit of derring-do to retrieve the garment. Soto's light tale offers a pleasant blend of family ties, friendship and ethnic pride. Readers will be introduced to a few words, foods and customs that may be new to them, but will also relate to Miata's true-to-life, universal experiences and relationships. Though her problems are far from grave, and her actions not so dangerous, some moralists may be concerned that Miata never tells her parents what she's done. However, she does express some guilt and comes across as a spunky and imaginative heroine who tries to take responsibility for her own actions. This short novel should find its most appreciative audience at the lower end of the intended age range. Illustrations not seen by PW . Ages 8-12. (Oct.)