Crazy, Mixed-Up Spanglish Day (Get Ready for Gabi Series #1)

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Move over Dora the Explorer. Out of the way Junie B. Gabí está aquí! A school and family-based Little Apple series with a funny, spunky Latina main character--a wonderful first for Scholastic!

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. ...

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Move over Dora the Explorer. Out of the way Junie B. Gabí está aquí! A school and family-based Little Apple series with a funny, spunky Latina main character--a wonderful first for Scholastic!

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

From the Publisher

Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books June 2003 0-439-47519-8 $3.99
Third-grader Maritza Cabricla Morales Mercado (Gaby at home) has a problem- johnny and Sissy, two of her least favorite people in her class, are her partners for a science report about strange and unusual animals. johnny is a bully who teases Gaby about her name, Sissy is a snob, and they can't agree on what animal to study. A surprise visit from her grandmother helps Gaby solve the problem: her grandmother gives her a tape of the sounds of coqui, tiny Puerto Rican tree frogs. When Gaby plays it in class, even johny and Sissy agree they want to learn more about the strange and beautiful frogs. Since part of the resolution involves the importance of the accent over the in "Gahy,' it's confusing that her name initially appears without it even in Gaby's own first-person narration, and some of the secondary characters are a bit flatly drawn. Gaby and her family are sketched with affectionate detail that makes them particularly attractive, however, and the text is energetic and bouncy, just like the amiable main character; the dialogue is an easy mix of English, Spanish, and Spanglish (a Spanish/Engfish glossary is appended). The cast of characters is decidedly multicultural and the classroom dynamics are, while neat, believable. Short chapters, large typeface, and angular yet jolly fine drawings by Cepeda add to the book's accessibility. This is a solid early chapter book (the first in a new series) that knows the audience it wants and reaches it with humor and flair. JNFD

**Praise for Marisa Montes' writing:


"...a sparkling read-aloud." --SLJ

"..a rollicking adventure." --Booklist

Juan Bobo Goes to Work

"...the funny, well-paced retelling smoothly incorporates Spanish words and phrases...this will be popular whereever children love to laugh." --Booklist

Something Wicked's in Those Woods

"A suspenseful page-turner." --Booklist

**Cepeda's expressive and engaging style--his skillful use of color, bold brushstrokes, and energetic compositions--always receives glowing praise:

"sumptuously rich...pleasure giving"-Kirkus

"Cepeda's saucy oil paintings...have real bite." --Publisher's Weekly

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: 9780439475198
  • Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
  • Publication date: 3/5/2003
  • Series: Get Ready For Gabi, #1
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 128
  • Age range: 7 - 10 Years
  • Lexile: 420L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 7.66 (h) x 0.33 (d)

Meet the Author

Marisa Montes was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico and moved several times with her family throughout the rest of her childhood. At the age of four, her family moved to Missouri, then Toul, France when she was seven and eventually to California when she turned ten. It was in France, however, that Montes first discovered her love for literature and writing. There, she had no access to American television, so instead found entertainment through books. Literature made quite an impact on her, because as she explains, “Books are now my life.”

Montes was educated at University of California - Santa Cruz and then continued on in law school at University of California - Hastings College of Law. She practiced law for a few years, moved into legal publishing and then finally became a full time children's writer. Her diverse background has enabled her to write in a variety of genres, in several languages. She has written two mystery novels, Something Wicked's In Those Woods, A Circle of Time and two picture books, Juan Bobo Goes To Work and Egg-Napped! Her books have won several awards, including the 2003 WILLA Literary Award.

Her most recent project is the series Get Ready for Gabi! , published by Scholastic Inc. Illustrated by Joseph Cepeda, the series includes A Crazy Mixed Up Spanglish Day, Who's That Girl? , No More Spanish! , Please Don't Go! and All in the Familia. This series, praised as realistic fiction, demonstrates to children the wonders of bilingualism. Gabi is a funny, spunky Latin American protagonist that provides inspiration to children.

Marisa Montes currently lives in Northern California with her husband David.

Mr Cepeda received his BFA in illustration from California State University, Long Beach in 1992 and also studied Engineering at Cornell University. He is the illustrator of awarding-winning picture books such as What a Truly Cool World and Nappy Hair.

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Customer Reviews

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 9, 2003

    If Junie B. had flava'...

    As an English as a Second Language teacher, I feel I must pass the word on about Marisa Montes's books! How can you not love Gabi?! Gabi is a fun character that my students recognize themselves in--finally! I am reading Montes books of various reading levels to my classes and they are in love. So many books for beginning readers are pretty bland, but this book has some spark. I love how Montes incorporates Spanish language and culture into her books, as well as the issues that English language learners face in everyday life. The kids love these books and so do I.

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