cover image Martina Has Too Many Tías

Martina Has Too Many Tías

Emma Otheguy, illus. by Sara Palacios. Atheneum, $18.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-5344-4536-9

Otheguy riffs on the Caribbean folktale “La Cucaracha Martina” in this emotionally aware story about family and self. Since Martina’s boisterous tías typically give her a headache, the child slips away upon their arrival for a party, attended by people of various skin tones, to tell herself “a little story/ about a whisper-quiet fairy.” Back home, the bespectacled child, portrayed with brown skin, unexpectedly slips into a pot smelling of guava, and its steam carries her to a “warm island home” where, in an echo of the original folktale, she encounters different animals, each too loud for her liking. A quiet, imaginative mouse seems like an ideal friend, but when it gets sleepy and departs, it leaves Martina “very,/ very/ much alone.” Attracted by the distant sound of salsa and laughter, Martina returns home with a greater appreciation for family bonds. Circular forms suffuse Palacios’s festive digital renderings of Martina’s magical journey toward family connection. An author’s note concludes. Ages 4–8. (June)