The Pasteboard Bandit

The Pasteboard Bandit

by Arna Bontemps, Langston Hughes, Peggy Turley, Alex Bontemps

In this delightful children's tale, an American boy, Kenny Strange, moves to the quiet Mexican town of Taxco with his parents and strikes up a friendship with young Juanito Pérez, a Taxco native. The two boys are brought together by an enchanting toy, the pasteboard bandit Tito. Chosen by Juanito at a town fair from among the other pasteboard toys, Tito,… See more details below

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In this delightful children's tale, an American boy, Kenny Strange, moves to the quiet Mexican town of Taxco with his parents and strikes up a friendship with young Juanito Pérez, a Taxco native. The two boys are brought together by an enchanting toy, the pasteboard bandit Tito. Chosen by Juanito at a town fair from among the other pasteboard toys, Tito, with his colorful clothes and bright eyes, becomes Juanito's and Kenny's constant companion, and the threesome share many adventures in and around the town's rolling green hills. The boys' growing friendship, Kenny's introduction to a culture unlike his own, and Tito's witty reflections on being a toy will be recognized instantly by anyone young or old who has ever made a friend or imagined that a toy might be real.
Originally written in 1935, but never before published, The Pasteboard Bandit grew out of several trips Langston Hughes made to Mexico during his lifetime. Hughes first went to the town of Toluca at age 5 to visit his father, and again when he was older. During these visits, Hughes met many writers and artists, and it is their influence that informs the story of The Pasteboard Bandit--a story of two cultures meeting. When Hughes left Mexico for the last time, at age 32, he was carrying the first draft for The Pasteboard Bandit.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Hughes and Bontemps successfully capture the lush Mexican culture with all its sights and sounds. Turley's vivid, Mexican-inspired illustrations pair nicely with this warmhearted story.... Sure to charm children and adults."--MultiCultural Review

"Makes a sincere and convincing appeal for racial tolerance, presented to readers within a parable of family love and childhood imagination.... The poetic voices of Bontemps and Hughes sound a call for cultural exchange that remains compelling.... Written with foresight and poetic skill, The Pasteboard Bandit affirms the idealsim of its authors, encouraging all of us to dream of a world without prejudice."--Hungry Mind Review

"The Mexican setting is authentic and joyful, from food and scenery to language and pinatas; and Turley's gorgeously colored acrylic illustrations evoke Mexican folk art and murals."--Booklist

"A fanciful, lyrical piece about two boys, one Mexican, one white American, and the toy figure of a bandit that the boys make their friend."--The New York Times

"While the book may be of historical value to scholars, children in grade 4 will enjoy the gentle story of the boys' games and summertime adventures."--Library Talk

"The winsome tale of the friendship that flourishes between a Mexican boy and a boy from America has a timely message for today's youngsters.... The authors focus on such child-pleasing topics as holidays, food, and learning to communicate, as the boys teach each other key words in Spanish and English--while gently underscoring the importance of tolerance, self-esteem, and sharing. Exploding with vivid colors and fanciful patterns, Turley's full-bleed stylized paintings have a playful, collage-like quality.... It's easy to believe that Bontemps and Hughes would be delighted with this animated volume--and that readers will be, too."--Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Sincerely drawn and appealing.... Tito is a good soldier, patient when the boys leave him behind in their play, and brave when, in a little pasteboard way, he rescues Juanito and Kenny when they become trapped in an abandoned mine.... A lot of fun."--The Horn Book Magazine

Children's Literature - Donna Freedman
African-American writers Bontemps and Hughes wrote several children's books together, but this one was never published. It's an endearing, low-key story of Juanito, a small-town Mexican boy who befriends a newcomer, an American youngster named Kenny. The two have simple but satisfying adventures, often accompanied by a pasteboard bandit figurine named Tito. The authors write with a child's sense of wonder, making the book a good choice for a read-aloud or a chapter-a-night bedtime story. Chances are, your kids will ask you to keep reading.
Children's Literature - Meredith Kiger
This book provides a fresh look at the myriad world of animals, and specifically how they use their senses to protect, defend and assert themselves. It takes an interactive approach by suggesting that the reader compare their senses to those of various animals - for instance, comparing your field of vision to that of a frog, or changing the shape of your ears to those of a bat. Well researched, but brief discussions are accompanied by simple experiments in every sense area. The illustrations are accurate, and add interest and a fun touch to this area of science.
Children's Literature
Inspired by her desire to know more about her Korean heritage and to honor her grandmother, Edna Coe Bercaw wrote this touching story of a Korean grandmother's visit to her Korean-American grandchild's classroom. Jennifer is worried because she can't speak Korean and her grandmother can't speak English. She wants to get to know her "halmoni" better, but they can't speak to each other without a translator. When Halmoni visits the school and tells the story of her own Korean War veteran father's loss of his voice, Jennifer realizes that words are not the only way to share love. With soft, detailed, and expressive paintings and a heartfelt story of crossing cultural and generational boundaries, this book is a realistic reflection of a young girl's fears and hopes. 2000, Dial, $15.99. Ages 6 to 8. Reviewer: Alexandria LaFaye
Children's Literature - Trina Heidt
Blazingly brilliant color photographs of a variety of insects is the appeal of this very simple book. Each spread includes two full-color, labeled photographs that will make real world identification a snap. The simplicity makes this ideal as an introduction to the world of bugs for very small but curious entomologists.
Children's Literature - Karen Porter
Ragnar and his wife Ulla live a happy, simple life. Ragnar fishes for a living and Ulla keeps house. When Ragnar catches a magic fish, he is granted a wish. Ragnar first wishes for some lobster. Then Ulla needs a large pot to cook the lobster and the fish grants this second wish. Each time the fish grants a wish, Ulla discovers a new need. Eventually Ulla and Ragnar move to a mansion and throw parties for royalty, but this does not make them happy. Then they decide to return to their simple life. Colorful pictures in which the characters are depicted as cats support the well-written text.
Children's Literature - Leila Toledo
This poem captures the essence of the special relationship between a mother and daughter. The illustrations weave the beauty and strength of womanhood into a landscape format. Through the images and forceful words a young girl reflects upon the beauty of becoming a woman.
School Library Journal
Gr 3-6Tito, a papier-mch doll, stars in this rather dull tale set in Mexico. With Tito always at their sides, young Juanito and his American friend Kenny engage in a series of minor adventures, including being locked in an abandoned mine, mistaking holiday fire crackers for gun shots, and listening to serenaders. Written in 1935 and unpublished until now, the book has dated and mechanical dialogue. On the whole, the writing has not aged well, and an occasional switch from third person is jarring. The narrative does depict rural Mexican life and holiday celebrations adequately, but there's nothing here that can't be found in many higher-quality titles.Denise E. Agosto, formerly at Midland County Public Library, TX

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Product Details

Oxford University Press, USA
Publication date:
Iona and Peter Opie Library of Children's Literature Series
Product dimensions:
8.10(w) x 10.10(h) x 0.60(d)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

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