cover image Hairs/Pelitos: English/Spanish

Hairs/Pelitos: English/Spanish

Sandra Cisneros, Terry Ybanez. Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers, $15 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-679-86171-3

``Everybody in our family has different hair''/ ``Todos en nuestra familia tenemos pelo diferente,'' begins this rhythmic, bilingual picture book taken from acclaimed novelist/short-story writer Cisneros's The House on Mango Street. Ybanez expands upon the diversity theme by rendering the family members in a variety of unusual skin tones as well as with distinctive hairstyles. Purple-faced Papa has hair ``like a broom,/ all up in the air,'' while Nettie's ``slippery'' orange hair contrasts vividly with her blue skin. The narrator waxes lyrical on the subject of Mama's hair: ``sweet to put your nose into when she is holding you, holding you and you feel safe, [it] is the warm smell of bread before you bake it.'' Each spread is framed by bright borders ornamented with everyday objects-shoes and bikes; steaming cups of coffee; dice, jacks and jumpropes. Inside, the characters seem to float across swirling blocks of color. A spirited and buoyant celebration of individuality and of the bonds within families. Ages 4-8. (Oct.)