cover image In Rosa's Mexico

In Rosa's Mexico

Campbell Geeslin. Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers, $17 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-679-86721-0

Geeslin injects elements of magic into each of three folkloric vignettes about a kind-hearted girl in rural Mexico. After volcano ash falls on the violet crop, Rosa's rooster is destined for the soup pot-until he starts to crow flowers each morning, so that she can sell them to buy soup meat; a handmade clay pot uncoils and flies the girl up to the sky, where she fetches a star to heal her ailing burro; and a talking wolf gives Rosa an embroidered silk pillow that inspires pleasant dreams. The author unobtrusively works Spanish vocabulary into his simply stated yet musical text. While a glossary is included, kids will easily grasp the gist of many foreign words from the context alone: ""There is a golden anillo on the windowsill, and Rosa puts it on her finger."" Other clues to the words' meanings are amply provided in Arroyo's (La Boda: A Mexican Wedding Celebration) sunlit, uncluttered folk-like paintings. Her whimsical interpretations accommodate the stories' fantastic moments while treating the eye to the spectrum of bold colors found in Rosa's Mexico. Ages 4-7. (Nov.)