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From the PublisherSLJ 10/05
SANTIAGO, Esmeralda. A Doll for Navidades. illus. by Enrique O. Sánchez. unpaged. CIP. Scholastic. Oct. 2005. RTE $16.99. ISBN 0-439-55398-9. LC 2004019193.
K-Gr 3Seven-year-old Esmeralda wants a doll so much that she even goes to the trouble of writing to the Three Magi with her request. Her little sister also wants a baby doll, and Esmeralda grudgingly writes a letter for her as well. However, on Three Kings' Day, Delsa gets the coveted doll, while Esmeralda ends up with a game. The Magi must have only had one doll left, her Papi explains, and they know she is a big girl who would understand better than Delsa. Santiago's autobiographical tale is both a universal story of holiday disappointment and a rich, sensory portrait of a family celebration in Puerto Rico, filled with glorious tastes and colors and smells. Sánchez's acrylic-on-canvas paintings add to the exotic flavor and the familiarity of the large family, though the subdued colors will make sharing with a large group difficult. A fine addition to collections in which books about Three Kings' Day are in demand.M. A.
Caribbean breezes, not swirling snow, waft through this autobiographical picture book (adapted from a previously published essay) set on the sunny, lush island of Puerto Rico. Santiago (When I Was Puerto Rican ) recalls childhood memories and cultural traditions as a seven-year-old girl who, more than anything, wants a doll for El Da de los Tres Reyes Magos (Three Kings' Day, celebrated January 6). The warm bonds of family radiate in Sanchez's velvety acrylics, and readers can almost hear the parrandas (carolers) singing in the night. Ages 4-8. (Oct.)
Santiago, Esmeralda. A Doll for Navidades. Illus. by Enrique O. Sanchez. Oct. 2005. 32p. Scholastic, $16.99 (0-439-55398-9).
KGr. 2. In her first picture book, the acclaimed author of When I Was Puerto Rican (1993) and other adult memoirs draws on her Christmas memories to tell a moving story. Sánchez's clear, bright, double-page acrylic artwork shows Esmeralda, sever, and her poor Puerto Rican family celebrating the traditional holiday and attending Misa de Gallo (midnight mass) on Nochebuena (Christmas Eve). Santiago writes to los Tres Reyes Magos (the three Magi) to bring her a baby doll like her cousin's (white, “with blue eyes that close). When Santiago's little sister, Delsa, gets the doll instead, Santiago is furious. When her father explains that the Magi could bring only one doll, she sees his sadness and love, and she agrees to be the doll's madrina (godmother). The jealousy, sadness, and love in the midst of real family struggle make a great holiday story. Hazel Rochman
A DOLL FOR NAVIDADES Author: Santiago, Esmeralda
Review Date: NOVEMBER 01, 2005
Publisher:Scholastic Pages: 32
Price (hardback): $16.99
Publication Date: 10/1/2005 0:00:00
ISBN (hardback): 0-439-55398-9
Category: CHILDREN'S This touching story of a little girl's unfulfilled dream is based on an event in the author's own childhood in Puerto Rico. The main character, seven-year-old Esmeralda, has no doll of her own and longs for a blonde, blue-eyed baby doll just like one owned by her cousin. Esmeralda and her large family celebrate all the traditions and special customs of the season, and the children each look forward to receiving one special gift to be left by the Three Magi. Esmeralda and her younger sister Delsa each ask for a doll, but only Delsa receives the longed-for baby doll, while Esmeralda receives a board game that doesn't interest her. Her heartbreak at this disappointment and her subsequent jealous reaction is palpably captured in both text and illustrations, conveying the intensity of a child's unguarded emotions. The first-person text un