cover image Born in the Gravy

Born in the Gravy

Denys Cazet / Author Orchard Books (NY) $15.95 (1p) ISBN 978-0

Reminiscent of ``Never Spit on Your Shoes '' in its style and narrative technique, Cazet's latest school story is sprinkled with Spanish words and phrases. After her first day of kindergarten, Margarita has much to share with her proud Papa. Margarita's ``amigos nuevos'' include classmates Susie, who cries all day and can even ``cry and sing at the same time,'' and Juan Alberto, whose face balloons when he discovers ``allergies in the beans.'' Attentive Papa reassures Margarita that she is not, as the arrogant first graders would have it, a ``kindergarten baby, born in the gravy''; on the contrary, she was born in Guadalajara. Energetic drawings depict a variety of comical and near-calamitous events, giving the reader a school day that's as packed with action as a three-ring circus. The perky pictures are liberally accompanied by dialogue balloons, which add dimension to the story and frequently aim their humor at a grown-up audience. The snippets of Spanish tucked into the text are never translated outright; the context, and the clever use of dialogue, allow readers to grasp the meaning of unfamiliar words. Ages 3-6. (Sept.)