cover image HOME FOR NAVIDAD


Harriet Ziefert, , illus. by Santiago Cohen. . Houghton/Lorraine, $15 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-618-34976-0

As in Miracle of the First Poinsettia (reviewed above), this tale stars a struggling Mexican family, but it takes a more mundane approach. The miracle here is that after three years cleaning homes in Nueva York, Rosa's mother is coming home for Navidad and, best of all, to stay. Despite the title, Christmas itself, oddly, seems to be somewhat of an afterthought; most of the attention here turns toward the difficult and disrupted life the family leads. Like Negrin, Cohen (The Fifth Name) paints in saturated fiesta-bright colors that have an instant appeal. But his off-putting mix of childlike lines and randomly occurring, more sophisticated techniques fares less well; for example, when he juxtaposes naïve draftsmanship of Rosa and the rooms she enters with detailed, inked-on images of the furnishings within those rooms, the two visual styles cancel each other out. Ages 4-8. (Sept.)