cover image Salsa Lullaby

Salsa Lullaby

Jen Arena, illus. by Erika Meza. Knopf, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-525-57973-1

Frolicsome fun abounds in a family of three as they prepare for baby’s bedtime: “Mami starts a salsa song./ Papi keeps the beat.” As the trio bounces and leaps across the pages, a stereo emits a stream of music notes and bold-colored shapes implying lively meter. Meza’s illustrations vibrate with movement—Mami’s hair and skirt perpetually swirl around her, and a shaggy dog joins in, bounding. As the mood turns drowsy, softening into snuggles and sleep, the music follows the baby into dreamland. Arena’s rhyming ditty matches the tempo of the visuals and interweaves Spanish words (“Duerme, baby, duerme./ Sleep, sleep, sleep”). Though the verse can sometimes feel forced (“Mami glides across the floor./ Papi sets the pace./ Baby sings la la la,/ Makes a silly face”), lively pacing and rhythm alongside sweet images creates an enjoyable bedtime boogie. A glossary of some Spanish words used is included. Ages 3–7. [em](Oct.) [/em]