I’ve been a fan of Jane Cabrera’s books for awhile now. They’re some of my favorites combining read alouds with singing, with the oral tradition of nursery rhymes and all done in sweet painted illustrations. So when her publisher, Holiday House, asked if I wanted a copy of her newest book of course I said, “YES!”
I was curious about this one because it’s the first of her nursery rhyme titles that doesn’t have a melody (If you know of one, drop it in the comments!) and it’s a rhyme about a woman beating her kids and sending them to bed without dinner. What kind of twist can you put on that?
Well first, you give it a cast of adorable, diverse characters. (My favorite is Pob.) You throw in funny bits like having the old woman drive a shoe-shaped car. You use interesting words like tatty and gnu and hullabaloo.
And you make it a story of a mother who makes the best of things and loves all her children. The author’s note says Cabrera wanted it to be a “celebration of mothers” and I think it is. It will make a great readaloud one-on-one or with a group.
They also sent this book.
It’s the story of a boy looking for his stuffed animal, Bongo. The illustrations are soft and colorful. The text is sprinkled with Spanish words reflecting the author’s own Latino background. I appreciated the ease with which the Spanish text is introduced which can sometimes come across as clunky in picture books. I also liked the African-American/Latino mix which is a combo you don’t often see. The scene of the boy in bed with his Bongo is the perfect ending. There’s even a nod to one of Velasquez’s previous titles. Except, it’s not the ending. There’s one more page which shows what happens to Bongo. I didn’t quite understand why it was included because it doesn’t really add to the story, in my opinion. I’d recommend this one but if you read it aloud, skip the last page.