A Crazy Mixed-Up Spanglish Day

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With her friends and familia by her side, Gabi* is ready for anything--sort of.Maritza Gabriela Morales Mercado (Gabi for short) has big problemas. Her worst enemy, Johnny Wiley, is driving her crazy. He makes fun of her name. He picks on her friends. And now Gabi has to spend an entire month working with him on a school project! Gabi is so upset she can't even talk straight. Her English words keep getting jumbled up with her Spanish words. Now she's speaking a crazy mix of both, and no one knows what she's ...
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Overview

With her friends and familia by her side, Gabi* is ready for anything--sort of.Maritza Gabriela Morales Mercado (Gabi for short) has big problemas. Her worst enemy, Johnny Wiley, is driving her crazy. He makes fun of her name. He picks on her friends. And now Gabi has to spend an entire month working with him on a school project! Gabi is so upset she can't even talk straight. Her English words keep getting jumbled up with her Spanish words. Now she's speaking a crazy mix of both, and no one knows what she's saying! Will Gabi ever make sense again? Or will she be tongue-tied forever?
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Launching the Get Ready for Gabi! series, this slim tale introduces Maritza Gabriela Morales Mercado, a third-grader who speaks Spanish at home and English at school. "At home, I'm Gabi. At school, I'm Maritza Morales." Yet she tends to confuse her identities-and mix up the two languages-when she gets "super-stressed." One of Montes's more successful scenes centers on the narrator's playground conversation with her "Little Buddy," a kindergartner who recently moved to California from Nicaragua, and Devin, one of her best friends, who lived in Panama for four years (in Maritza's words, Devin "speaks really good Spanish, and she doesn't want to forget it"). Their exchange allows for a sprinkling of Spanish words, but the author never develops these relationships much beyond that early playground scene. Aside from a surprise visit from Maritza's grandmother (who lives in Puerto Rico), the action primarily focuses on the heroine's attempts to control her temper. Her nemesis, Johnny, a classmate who calls her "Maritza Pizza," teases her relentlessly. As a solution, the girl announces to the class that she prefers to be called Gab! (with an accent-so it will not rhyme with Blabby, the nickname with which Johnny promptly saddles her). Cepeda's (What a Truly Cool World) b&w line art adds little to the sketchy proceedings. Ages 7-10. (Apr.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal
Gr 2-4-Irrepressible and spunky Maritza Gabriela Morales Mercado is introduced in this new series. She has a problem, namely Johnny Wiley, a fellow third grader and all-around pain in the neck. He teases her relentlessly and she has a hard time not reacting, especially when wearing her favorite red boots, which are perfect for dispensing justice. When she is assigned to work with Johnny on a school project, she is so upset and rattled that she begins mixing up Spanish and English words at school and at home, even using Spanglish-much to her mother's dismay. Then her grandmother, uncle, and aunt pop in for a surprise visit, and her grandmother inspires the girl to start using her head, instead of her feet, when dealing with Johnny. Gab' is a feisty protagonist in the tradition of Beverly Cleary's Ramona, and she will appeal to beginning chapter-book readers. Cepeda's pen-and-ink cartoon illustrations are scattered throughout. A glossary of Spanish words is included, and these terms are also explained in context.-Terrie Dorio, Santa Monica Public Library, CA Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A third-grader of Puerto Rican descent, Gabi (the accent comes later) speaks Spanish at home and English at school. Her mother hates even the slightest hint of Spanglish-the mixing of Spanish and English-but as pressures mount at school and Gabi finds it difficult not to lose her temper at Johnny, her classmate and nemesis, it seems she can do nothing but speak Spanglish. Lightweight, but firmly focused on the everyday trials and tribulations of the spunky Gabi-and told through her voice-this will appeal to lots of girls, especially Latinas, who are ready to move out of beginning readers and into their own chapter books. Both sentences and paragraphs are short and direct, and Gabi's narration includes plenty of kid-friendly dialogue, sometimes in Spanish or Spanglish, all of which is explained within the tale. Coupled with the sheer exuberance of Gabi's family, the narrative voice may have some crying "stereotype," but a truer comparison would be with sitcoms such as George L-pez and The Brothers Garc'a. Cepeda, who also teamed with Montes on the picture-book folktale Juan Bobo Goes to Work (2001), here provides numerous black-and-white line illustrations, scattered throughout and often worked into the text block. Gabi's almost triangular haircut-reminiscent of an Egyptian sphinx's headdress-and the gleeful facial expressions of Johnny and Gabi's little brother Miguelito add to the generally "hyper" feeling of the story itself. A glossary of Spanish terms is included. (Fiction. 6-9)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780613720038
  • Publisher: Turtleback Books: A Division of Sanval
  • Publication date: 3/1/2003
  • Language: Spanish
  • Pages: 128
  • Age range: 8 - 11 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.04 (w) x 7.70 (h) x 0.57 (d)

Meet the Author

MARISA MONTES is the author of Something Wicked's in Those Woods. She lives in Walnut Creek, California.
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