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A Mango in the Hand: A Story Told Through Proverbs

Overview

Francisco is finally old enough to journey to the mango grove all by himself to gather the mangoes for a special dinner. But bees swarm the fruit, and Francisco has trouble picking them from the tree. He returns to his father several times, and each time his father shares a different proverb to inspire Francisco to continue trying. "Querer es poder. Where there's a will, there's a way!" Finally, Francisco is able to gather some mangoes, and on his way home he stops to visit his uncle, grandmother, and aunt. ...

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Overview

Francisco is finally old enough to journey to the mango grove all by himself to gather the mangoes for a special dinner. But bees swarm the fruit, and Francisco has trouble picking them from the tree. He returns to his father several times, and each time his father shares a different proverb to inspire Francisco to continue trying. "Querer es poder. Where there's a will, there's a way!" Finally, Francisco is able to gather some mangoes, and on his way home he stops to visit his uncle, grandmother, and aunt. Francisco shares his mangoes with them, and by the time he gets home he no longer has any! "Es mejor dar que recibir. Sometimes it's better to give than to receive." 

Luckily for Francisco, his generosity does not go unnoticed. "Amor con amor se paga. Love is repaid with love."

Readers are sure to be charmed by this humorous story about problem solving and sharing. The book includes a glossary of Spanish words.

Praise for A Mango in the Hand
“A "story told through proverbs" could easily go terribly wrong, but this sweet tale succeeds beautifully. This smoothly written family story is filled with warmth and humor and incorporates a blending of well-placed proverbs in both Spanish and English to drive the story’s themes. Digitally colored pencil-and-ink cartoon drawings reflect the lush greens of summertime and outdoor living in this intergenerational barrio.” –Kirkus Reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Francisco's attempts to fend off bees and retrieve mangos from a tree give his father many opportunities to do what fathers do best: offer words of wisdom. Papá does so in both English and Spanish ("Él que mucho abarca, poco aprieta. He who tries to grab too much, gets little"), and his lessons also help Francisco reach out to another familiar type of relative: the seemingly crabby (but actually lonely) aunt. Sacre's snappy storytelling avoids being overly moralistic, and Serra's digitally colored pencil-and-ink artwork creates a friendly, close-knit neighborhood for Francisco, the kind in which food, conversation—and proverbs—can be found in abundance. Ages 4–8. (Apr.)
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3—It is Francisco's saint day, and he wants mangoes for dessert. Papá declares him old enough to pick them, so the boy sets off, passing the homes of Tío Tito, Abuela, and "crabby" Tía Clara en route. But when he tries to pick the fruit, Francisco is first frightened by bees, and then, because he tries to collect too many at once, ends up smashing them. With each setback, he returns home for help, but Papá insists that his son find a way to accomplish the task. Eventually, he does, but his bounty disappears as he gives the fruit away to his relatives when he passes their houses on the way home. He even manages to engage Tía Clara, who "didn't sound so crabby after all," in conversation. Good-naturedly sitting down to a meal without mangoes, for "Sometimes, it's better to give than to receive," the family is surprised by the arrival of their relatives, who bring gifts of their own. The large, digitally colored pencil and ink stylized cartoon illustrations contain cultural elements such as a string of chilies hanging in the kitchen, labeled ethnic foods, and vegetation. Proverbs, appearing first in Spanish, then in English, are sprinkled naturally throughout the text without being intrusive, and there are many Spanish phrases, translated in a glossary, as well. Read this story aloud to spark a discussion of proverbs and to encourage problem-solving efforts.—Marianne Saccardi, formerly at Norwalk Community College, CT
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3—It is Francisco's saint day, and he wants mangoes for dessert. Papá declares him old enough to pick them, so the boy sets off, passing the homes of Tío Tito, Abuela, and "crabby" Tía Clara en route. But when he tries to pick the fruit, Francisco is first frightened by bees, and then, because he tries to collect too many at once, ends up smashing them. With each setback, he returns home for help, but Papá insists that his son find a way to accomplish the task. Eventually, he does, but his bounty disappears as he gives the fruit away to his relatives when he passes their houses on the way home. He even manages to engage Tía Clara, who "didn't sound so crabby after all," in conversation. Good-naturedly sitting down to a meal without mangoes, for "Sometimes, it's better to give than to receive," the family is surprised by the arrival of their relatives, who bring gifts of their own. The large, digitally colored pencil and ink stylized cartoon illustrations contain cultural elements such as a string of chilies hanging in the kitchen, labeled ethnic foods, and vegetation. Proverbs, appearing first in Spanish, then in English, are sprinkled naturally throughout the text without being intrusive, and there are many Spanish phrases, translated in a glossary, as well. Read this story aloud to spark a discussion of proverbs and to encourage problem-solving efforts.—Marianne Saccardi, formerly at Norwalk Community College, CT
Kirkus Reviews

A "story told through proverbs" could easily go terribly wrong, but this sweet tale succeeds beautifully.

On Francisco's feast day, Mamá and Papá plan to make ropa vieja, tostones and aguacate. For dessert Francisco would like fresh-picked mangos from the tree a short walk from his home. Finding several bees near the tree, Francisco returns empty handed. Papá asks for an explanation. "La verdad, por dura que sea. / The truth, no matter how hard it is." Francisco admits his fear of the bees, but Papa tells him to gently shoo them away. A second attempt results in his picking more than he can handle, making for a gooey mess. Papá suggests one more time. "You can do it by yourself, mi'jo / Querer es poder. / Where there's a will, there's a way." Francisco succeeds but on the way home generously gives all his mangos to the neighbors. Through the little proverbs, Francisco learns that life is about trying, succeeding and sharing. "Amor con amor se paga. / Love is repaid with love." This smoothly written family story is filled with warmth and humor and incorporates a blending of well-placed proverbs in both Spanish and English to drive the story's themes. Digitally colored pencil-and-ink cartoon drawings reflect the lush greens of summertime and outdoor living in this intergenerational barrio.

Muy dolce. (Picture book. 5-7)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780810997349
  • Publisher: Abrams, Harry N., Inc.
  • Publication date: 4/1/2011
  • Edition description: Spanish-language Edition
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 682,837
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 10.20 (w) x 10.20 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Antonio Sacre is an internationally touring writer, storyteller, and performance artist based in Los Angeles and is the author of La Noche Buena: A Chirstmas Story. Sebastià Serra lives with his family in a village near Barcelona, Spain.

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