cover image Papa Gave Me a Stick

Papa Gave Me a Stick

Janice Levy, illus. by Simone Shin. Star Bright (, $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-59572-342-0

In a contemporary twist on the Japanese fable of the "straw millionaire," a boy named Antonio turns a simple stick into the mariachi guitar of his dreams, while assisting several needy animals along the way. Antonio is initially disappointed when his father hands him a stick instead of the "guitarra with a leather strap and fringes" that he covets ("Ay, hijo, I have no money for such things," says his father). But that same stick helps light a fire that warms a freezing dog, who gives Antonio a tortilla in return. The tortilla feeds a hungry bird, whose gift of a string helps the boy remove a donkey's aching tooth, etc., until a grateful mariachi guitarist gives Antonio his instrument as thanks for locating his lost wedding ring. Levy (Thomas the Toadilly Terrible Bully) incorporates Spanish words and phrases throughout (a glossary is included, though the terms are fully comprehensible through context), and the textures of Shin's illustrations evoke weathered frescoes or prints, highlighting the story's evergreen themes of generosity, kindness, and persistence. Ages 4%E2%80%938. Illustrator's agent: Kelly Sonnack, Andrea Brown Literary Agency. (Apr.)