Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
A boy lies to secure work for his grandfather, newly arrived from Mexico; Himler's "expressive, gestural watercolors... strongly invoke both the harsh and tender landscapes of [the story]," said PW. Ages 5-8. (Apr.)
Children's Literature - Deborah Zink Roffino
Abuelo speaks no English so young Francisco accompanies his grandfather as the old one seeks day work. Grandfather's integrity offers Francisco a cogent lesson of honor.
Children's Literature - Marilyn Bagel
What begins as a search for day-work ends with discovering one of life's valuable lessons. Grandpa speaks no English, so Francisco accompanies him to help him find day work. Even without the benefit of an English vocabulary, however, Grandpa makes himself understood in a meaningful way that benefits them both. Himler's sensitive illustrations meld with Bunting's insightful account, conveying emotions so convincing that the reader is swept inside the pages.
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
K-Gr 3-A charming story about an elderly man who has just come from Mexico to live with his daughter and grandson Francisco in California. The boy convinces a man to hire him and his Abuelo by saying that ``...my grandfather is a fine gardener, though he doesn't know English yet,'' in spite of the fact that he has always lived in the city and worked as a carpenter. After their new employer drives off in his van, the two set to work-but they pull up all of the plants and leave the weeds. ``We do not lie for work,'' Abuelo tells Francisco when he learns what they have done, and they return the next day to rectify their mistake for no extra pay. Bunting perfectly captures the intergenerational love and respect shared by these two characters and the man's strong sense of honesty and integrity. Himler's softly colored illustrations reflect the feelings of the characters and the setting.-Jessie Meudell, California Polytechnic University at Pomona
The author and illustrator of "The Wall" (1990) and "Fly Away Home" (1991) here tell a touching immigration story about the reversal of roles between child and adult. A small Mexican American boy, Francisco acts as interpreter for his "abuelo", newly arrived in California and looking for work as a day laborer. The boy speaks English for his grandfather and pushes hard, even tells lies, to get him a job as a gardener. "Abuelo"'s a carpenter, not a gardener, and he and Francisco pull out the flowers instead of the weeds. The employer is furious, but then "abuelo" takes charge and insists on working the next day without pay to put things right. Himler's watercolor and gouache paintings have warmth and urgency; they're sensitive without being maudlin. The characters of the all-male cast are wonderfully individualized: the lively boy in his Lakers cap is eager to make things happen; the grandfather is bewildered but with an inner certainty; the employer is angry but is no monster. In the tense competition among the laborers in the hiring yard, we feel the desperation of people without work. The family drama captures that universal immigrant experience in which the child must help the adult interpret the new world, while the wise adult still has much to teach the child about enduring values.