cover image ’Twas Nochebuena

’Twas Nochebuena

Roseanne Greenfield Thong, illus. by Sara Palacios. Viking, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-670-01634-1

Latin American holiday traditions and a host of Spanish words spark this zippy recast of Clement C. Moore’s Christmas poem. A girl invites readers into her family’s preparations for a boisterous Christmas Eve, a feast with all the favorite trimmings, and religious observations, too: “We clink our glass marbles and play lotería,/ while singing and laughing—qué maravilla!/ When out in the jardín I hear such a clatter,/ I spring from my silla to shout, ‘What’s the matter!’ ” Descriptions of the montones of tamales, turkey with mole sauce, and freshly fried “buñuelos with cinnamon sugar” have a mouth-watering effect, and Palacios’s mixed-media paintings of cheerful children, adults, and pets hum with an exuberance and anticipation that many readers will find familiar. A glossary is included. Ages 3–5. Author’s agent: Natalie Lakosil, Bradford Literary Agency. Illustrator’s agent: Kendra Marcus, BookStop Literary Agency. (Oct.)