From the Publisher
Booklist A wonderful celebration of food and culture, friends and family.
Kirkus Reviews Rosa-Casanova's first book is a terrific blend of a cumulative tale, a cook's tour of ethnic cuisine, a genuine sense of apartment life, and an unforced display of affection.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In her picture book debut, Rosa-Casanova presents a tale of ethnic culinary delights. Mama Provi and her young granddaughter Lucy live in the same apartment building. When Lucy falls ill with the chicken pox, Mama Provi plans to carry a pot of her special arroz con pollo up the eight flights of stairs to her ailing granddaughter. As she stops on each floor, however, Mama Provi smells other wonderful foods and soon is trading her rice for bread, frijoles negros, apple pie, etc. By the time she reaches Lucy's apartment, Mama Provi's bags are laden with a multicultural feast. Rosa-Casanova sprinkles her text with Spanish phrases and presents an accurate portrait of an urban building, although she skates a little close to ethnic stereotyping (an African American woman contributes collard greens; an Asian woman offers tea). The author's upbeat writing style and Mama Provi's energetic personality, however, prevent the story from slipping into patness. Roth (Pearl Moscowitz's Last Stand) strikes an intriguing balance between pale washes and vibrant colors and, in his signature style, he spatters his scenes with flecks of paint that seemingly shower from his subjects, dressed here in spiritedly mismatched prints. He depicts Mama Provi from a variety of uncommon perspectives as she wends her way up staircases and through narrow hallways. Friendly faces and the warm exchanges between characters take center stage in each spread, creating a truly neighborly mood. Ages 5-8. (May)
Children's Literature - Tim Whitney
Mama Provi lives on the first floor of a tall apartment building. Her granddaughter, Lucy, lives on the eighth floor of the same building and spends the night with Mama Provi twice a month. When Lucy gets the chicken pox and is unable to visit, Mama Provi prepares to visit her with a large pot of arroz con pollo (chicken with rice). But as Mama Provi climbs the seven flights of stairs to Lucy's door, she begins exchanging food with the neighbors creating, by the end of her climb, a multicultural feast. Roth's illustrations enhance the warm feeling in this story of good neighbors and good food.
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3When her granddaughter Lucy is sick, Mama Provi makes a big pot of arroz con pollo for her and sets off on the journey from her first-floor apartment to Lucy's eighth-floor home in the same building. On each floor, Mama Provi trades a bit of her rice with a different neighbor, receiving a new type of food each time. By the time she finally reaches Lucy, the two have a tremendous and varied feast. Mama Provi makes each trade "en un dos por tres" ("something like `lickety-split'"), a pleasant refrain repeated throughout. Most readers will figure out where the rather wordy story is going right away, so the final meal is rather anticlimactic. Though the action of trading foods is repeated several times, the language and conversations are different enough to avoid monotony. The watercolor illustrations also add interest, offering varied perspectives of hallways, stairs, and apartments. The soft colors used for the people's clothes and food stand out nicely from the tans and off-whites in the background, reinforcing the warmth of the building's community. The foods and neighbors are almost too neatly varied in a multicultural fashion, as Seor Rivera offers black beans; Mrs. Johnson, an African American, trades collard greens; and Mrs. Woo gives tea. The book avoids preachiness, however, by focusing on the neighborliness rather than the individuals' backgrounds. The result is a thoughtful, gentle, and satisfying story.Steven Engelfried, West Linn Public Library, OR
Rosa-Casanova's first book is a terrific blend of a cumulative tale, a cook's tour of ethnic cuisinea genuine sense of apartment life, and an unforced display of affection.
Mama Provi lives on the ground floor of a city building; her granddaughter Lucy lives on the eighth floor. When Lucy gets the chicken pox, Mama Provi whips up a big batch of arroz con pollo (Mama, in a family of twelve, is hardwired to cook in great quantities) and sets out to scale the apartment stairs. On each floor, as she catches her breath, Mama Provi smells something deliciousfresh bread, frijoles negros, collard greens, an apple pieand trades a bowl of rice for a portion of each, as well as some salad and tea. By the time she gets to Lucy, a fine feast has been hunted and gathered in a story with elegant forward energy and well-paced repetitions. Roth's watercolor-and-ink illustrations have all the eccentricity the tale deserves, and superbly conjure the special life that goes on in the hallways and stairs of apartment buildings.