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Children's LiteratureThis book in the "Get Ready for Gabi!" series features three major themes that intertwine to create an enjoyable and exciting read for young students. First, Gabi and her brother, Miguelito, must face the fact that their grandmother, who's been visiting them in Northern California for a while now, intends to return to her native Puerto Rico soon. Gabi vows to think up some plan that will prevent her beloved grandmother from leaving. Hence, the second and third major themes take shape. One involves finding and nurturing some baby opossums and convincing Abuelita to stay and take care of them, and the other centers around Gabi's feud with her biggest enemigo at school, the troublesome Johnny Wiley. Gabi is convinced that if she can get into trouble at school, her grandmother will have to stay to help teach her right from wrong. However, when she teaches Johnny a rude phrase in Spanish during a culture-sharing exercise and convinces him that it means, "Welcome to our classroom," she never dreams he will actually have the chance to use it on some Nicaraguan guests. Peppered throughout this humorous book are Spanish words and phrases, which the author makes perfectly clear through context and direct translation. This book portrays Hispanic culture in a positive light, demonstrates the benefits gained from knowing two languages, and shows Gabi learning from her mistakes. It would make an excellent read-aloud selection for a class or would equally be enjoyed by individual readers. 2004, Scholastic, Ages 8 to 12.
—Ramirose Attebury Wendt