Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
``Everybody in our family has different hair''/ ``Todos en nuestra familia tenemos pelo diferente,'' begins this rhythmic, bilingual picture book taken from acclaimed novelist/short-story writer Cisneros's The House on Mango Street. Ybez expands upon the diversity theme by rendering the family members in a variety of unusual skin tones as well as with distinctive hairstyles. Purple-faced Papa has hair ``like a broom,/ all up in the air,'' while Nettie's ``slippery'' orange hair contrasts vividly with her blue skin. The narrator waxes lyrical on the subject of Mama's hair: ``sweet to put your nose into when she is holding you, holding you and you feel safe, [it] is the warm smell of bread before you bake it.'' Each spread is framed by bright borders ornamented with everyday objects-shoes and bikes; steaming cups of coffee; dice, jacks and jumpropes. Inside, the characters seem to float across swirling blocks of color. A spirited and buoyant celebration of individuality and of the bonds within families. Ages 4-8. (Oct.)
Children's Literature - Deborah Zink Roffino
In any language, in any culture, the dreams and comforts of children across the earth are all the same. In this simple story, a youngster describes how every member of her family has hair of different texture. Her brief observations, in bi-lingual text, frame the fiery paintings. The differences within the family testify to the individuality of each member and the love that makes them a unit.
Children's Literature - Children's Literature
I was drawn to this simple story because of its tenderness and reflection of family love. A young girl describes what her family members' hair is like, and in so doing describes a bit about each person. She expands her description of the family by telling us her sensory experiences; how her father's hair looked, what her mother's hair smelled like, and what her sister's hair felt like. She has a special place in her heart and memory for her mother whose hair smells so good; nuzzling into it makes her feel safe. The English text is at the top of the page and the Spanish at the bottom, allowing the story to flow. It is well translated with Mexican colloquial flair. The illustrations are friendly, well done and enhance the mood of the story.
Great for reading aloud, this vignette from Cisneros' "House on Mango Street" (1984) is told in the voice of a young Latina. The words are simple, intimate, and poetic and appear in English at the top of each page, in Spanish at the bottom. (Unfortunately the Spanish translation is occasionally poor, although for the most part, it maintains the lyrical childlike quality of the English text.) The brilliantly colored art perfectly expresses the child's world, both domestic and magical, with a realism rooted in the feelings and physical particulars of family life. The child talks about the hair--and personality--of each person in her home. Papa's hair is like a stiff broom "all up in the air." Her own hair is "lazy. It never obeys barrettes or braids." But best of all is Mama's hair "that smells like bread" when she's holding you and you feel safe. The bold, energetic paintings and their contrasting borders mix objects from home and neighborhood that reflect the diversity within the family and within each personality. Children will recognize the physicalness of the images, especially the cozy sense of home when there's a storm outside.