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Children's LiteratureA lively text in cumulative Spanish rhymes is interspersed with a longer explanatory prose text on opposite pages, to tell the story of the famous Mexican artist, Juan Quezada. Born in 1940, and raised in the small town of Mata Ortiz, Chihuahua, Quezada worked as a farmer, railroad worker, and boxer, before discovering his true passion and talent which was making pottery by recreating the methods used by the prehistoric Casas Grandes culture. In addition to becoming successful himself, Quezada also inspired and helped other villagers become successful artists. Today his work is in many museums and art galleries, and he received Mexico's National Arts and Science Award in 1999. This lively picture book focuses on the steps Quezada takes to create his pottery. An epilogue providing background information on the man and his art includes many small, color photos. Vivid, often humorous illustrations by Caldecott illustrator, David Diaz, compliment and enhance the text. They resemble glowing airbrush paintings, but they are digitally-rendered. This book could have a number of uses. The more simple rhyming text might be suitable for bilingual or Spanish storytimes, although the vocabulary is fairly advanced and might need to be explained. The longer, prose pages and epilogue could be enjoyed by older students and even adults. The book might also be used as part of an art unit. 2003, Lee & Low Books, Ages 6 to adult.
—Gisela Jernigan, Ph.D.