cover image Waiting for the Biblioburro

Waiting for the Biblioburro

Monica Brown, illus. by John Parra. Random/Tricycle, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-58246-353-7

Brown (Side by Side/Lado a lado) and Parra (Gracias/Thanks) gently portray a lifestyle 180 degrees from modern, technology-centric schooling. In rural Colombia, "Ana bathes her little brother and feeds the goats and collects the eggs to sell at the market," all the time longing to be back in her house reading her one and only book. The arrival of a librarian riding a burro brings more books and inspires Ana to write a book of her own. The traveling librarian and his donkeys, Alfa and Beto, are based on a real Colombian biblioburro, also the subject of Jeanette Winter's Biblioburro (2010). Parra's na%C3%AFve-styled acrylics brim with scenes of country life. A palette of salmon pinks and turquoise and sky blues, painted on board, give the book a rough-hewn, handmade quality and an innocent, childlike appeal (with her wide face, delicate features, and rouged cheeks, Ana even resembles a porcelain doll). In a metafictional ending, readers will notice that the book Ana hands the bibliotecario upon his return is this very book%E2%80%94fitting, as this truly is Ana's story. Ages 4%E2%80%936. (July)