Gonzalo Grabs the Good Life

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
Gonzalo the rooster is thrilled when he wins the lottery. His new wealth means that he can leave Don Chucho's farm for "the good life." But despite his yacht and his mansion in Miami, Gonzalo is not happy. He tries living la vida loca in Hollywood, but he gets tired—"too tired to cock-a-doodle-doo"—and his feet hurt. When all his money is gone, Gonzalo goes to church. There, he is invited to sing in the choir, but he is still not happy. In a dream, Gonzalo hears the wind tell him to go home. Don Chucho is delighted to have the bird back at his crowing job. As for Gonzalo, "He even stopped complaining—most of the time." Gessoed pages give the acrylic paint a textured quality that Slavin exploits to create vital characters with appealing and amusing personalities in fully detailed settings. These are shown in both double-page scenes and more intimate close-ups. Humor of both situations and details is shown throughout, such as in the sunglasses Gonzalo wears as he lounges, the drink in his "hand," or his grimace of pain as he lounges with an ice bag on his head, soaking his feet. The Spanish words that add spice to the text are defined in a vocabulary section. This story is an amusing twist on the old theme "There's no place like home." Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal

Gr 1-4

When Gonzalo the rooster wins the lottery, he leaves his job on Don Chucho's farm for the "good life." He buys a mansion in Miami and a yacht, where he gets seasick. Then he heads to Hollywood and becomes a party animal. As expected, he soon runs out of cash, but he finds salvation in church. Soon he is the talk of the town because of his voice, but even then he is not satisfied. Gonzalo decides to return to the farm after a vivid dream calls him home. Once there he returns to crowing every morning though he continues to complain about everything. The illustrations are created with acrylics on gessoed paper and convey Gonzalo's colorful and humorous antics. In one scene, he is lounging by his pool wearing sunglasses, attended by a butler refreshing his drink, a baker ushering in a four-layer cake, and a maid dusting the palm trees. The vibrant colors and strong lines pulse with Gonzalo's strong personality and oddball situations. Kids will enjoy the rooster's adventures, and the story could open up a conversation about suddenly striking it rich and about the value of home. Spanish words pepper the text and are defined in a tiny glossary at story's end.-Linda M. Kenton, Pickleweed Public Library, San Rafael, CA

Kirkus Reviews
A winning lottery ticket spurs a rooster to kiss off his job on don Chucho's farm in this spirited if predictable outing. Leaving farmer and tearful hens behind ("This rooster stuff is nothing to crow about. It's time to grab the good life!"), Gonzalo hops aboard a bus-only to discover that yachting just makes him seasick, his feathers fall off in his Miami mansion's hot tub, the Hollywood la vida loca leaves him both fat and sore and his friends run out when the money does. When even going to church and singing in the choir fails to satisfy, Gonzalo sees the light at last and, like the Prodigal Son, arrives back home to a warm welcome. Not that he's much reformed or chastened by his experiences. Slavin mixes humans and animals indiscriminately in his thickly textured illustrations and, along with tucking in visual jokes, endows the irritable, scraggly-looking Gonzalo with plenty of personality. The few Spanish words and phrases add just a hint of cultural gusto. (Picture book. 6-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780802853288
  • Publisher: Eerdmans, William B. Publishing Company
  • Publication date: 2/1/2009
  • Pages: 34
  • Age range: 6 - 9 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.70 (w) x 11.20 (h) x 0.70 (d)

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