CriticasGr 3-5-First published in Portuguese in 1979, Machado's story about a little boy who breaks out in blue spots is now available in an excellent Spanish-language translation. A quiet, well-behaved, polite boy, Raul is shocked when he discovers blue spots along his arms, legs, and neck. After much pondering, soul-searching, and even a trip to the wise old man at the top of the mountain, he realizes that the appearance of the spots coincides with the times he has witnessed racism, intolerance, and plain old meanness and remained silent. The blue spots are the visible manifestations of his frustration. Raul realizes that the only way he can save himself is to defend the innocent. Despite the politically fraught theme, Machado's story is written in a child's voice. This ability to see the world from a child's point of view and express it perfectly without condescension or saccharin sentimentality is the author's genius. Da Coll's basic b&w sketches provide a nice counterpoint to the text. Beyond being a good read, this novel can be a useful starting point for classroom discussions. Recommended for bookstores, schools, and libraries.
Maria Otero-Boisvert, "Criticas" Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.