Roberto's Trip to the Top

Overview

Breathtaking vistas and bustling scenes await a boy and his uncle when they ride the teleférico to the top of a mountain in Venezuela.

Today was the day! Finally it is time for Roberto to take his well-earned trip on the teleférico to the top of El Ávila, the mountain overlooking his village. Since Papá has to work, Tío Antonio will go with his nephew, who makes sure to pack his camera so he can share the sights with Papá. Up, up, up, the cable car goes, over gasp-inducing ...

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Overview

Breathtaking vistas and bustling scenes await a boy and his uncle when they ride the teleférico to the top of a mountain in Venezuela.

Today was the day! Finally it is time for Roberto to take his well-earned trip on the teleférico to the top of El Ávila, the mountain overlooking his village. Since Papá has to work, Tío Antonio will go with his nephew, who makes sure to pack his camera so he can share the sights with Papá. Up, up, up, the cable car goes, over gasp-inducing ravines, to an exciting new world of vendors, animals, and a spectacular view of Caracas below. Featuring lively illustrations and interwoven with Spanish words that are translated in a glossary at the end, here is a warmhearted tale of a little boy’s first big adventure without his parents.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
We share Roberto's excitement as he prepares for the reward for his good grades: a ride on the cable car to the top of El Avila, where he can look down from the mountain to his home in Caracas, Venezuela. His father cannot go with him but his favorite uncle, Tio Antonio, is taking him instead. Backpack filled with refreshments and his new camera, Roberto eagerly waits at the base station until the cars are ready. They board and as they rise higher, Roberto takes photos of the city below. Arriving at the top, he photographs butterflies and admires the souvenir stands. Unfortunately he leans over a rock and drops his camera. He is sad not only because of the camera, but also because he cannot bring pictures back to share the trip with his father. He does, however, manage to bring back a memento of his wonderful day. Alarcao's rather literal acrylic paintings make use of double-page spreads and full pages to depict the sights Roberto finds impressive; they are not particularly exciting but are nevertheless a convincing record of his trip. On the way we are introduced to objects, creatures, and mountain landscapes of this part of Venezuela. There is a glossary of the included Spanish words. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2—Roberto's reward for good grades is a trip with his uncle up the teleférico, or cable car, to the mountains overlooking Caracas, Venezuela. Roberto had hoped to take pictures for his father, who has stayed behind tending the store, but he drops the camera down a ravine. The disappointed but resourceful lad then asks a vendor to take a snapshot so he can share his adventure with Papá after all. The text is primarily narrative, relating what happens to Roberto, and its direct prose makes it better suited to independent reading than to reading aloud. The book uses little figurative language, but a simile comparing cable cars to spaceships nicely conveys a child's sense of wonder in new experiences. The round, cheerful faces in the illustrations highlight the simple joys found in the text. Alarcão's heavy brushstrokes also evoke the mists that hang over the tropical rain forests of Venezuela's mountains. Spanish words are sprinkled throughout, and children can use contextual clues to guess their meanings (or use the glossary). However, the writers use many phrases that are more common in Mexico than in Venezuela, such as ándale and peso. Moreover, the description of a tortilla fits the Mexican usage of this term, whereas in Venezuela the word tortilla is used to describe a fritatta. Although the book is a nice introduction to a relatively unfamiliar country, it does not accurately reflect Venezuelan Spanish.—Mary Landrum, Lexington Public Library, KY
Kirkus Reviews
An earnest, not entirely successful effort, this straightforward story details a visit to the top of Mt. Avila, overlooking Caracas. Young Roberto has been promised the trip on the cable car as a reward for his hard work in school. Initially disappointed that his father can't take him as planned, Roberto easily adapts when his beloved uncle Antonio accompanies him instead. Their hike on the mountain is marred by the loss of Roberto's brand-new camera, but uncle and nephew are equally relieved that Roberto's misstep didn't have more serious consequences. Roberto's ingenuous enjoyment of the natural world is appealing, but the story suffers from a tendency to tell rather than show. Roberto's near fall, for example, lacks real tension. The casual inclusion of Spanish words into the text is a plus, but the narrative is overlong. Alarcao's acrylic paintings show a realistic, albeit somewhat simplified vision of people and places. While the illustrations add appeal, observant listeners will note that they often don't quite match the actions described. Sincere but substandard. (Picture book. 5-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780763627089
  • Publisher: Candlewick Press
  • Publication date: 8/11/2009
  • Pages: 40
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.20 (w) x 10.80 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

John B. Paterson Jr. and John B. Paterson Sr., father-and-son authors, based this story on their own 1970s trip to Caracas, where they rode the very teleférico featured in the book. John Sr. also collaborated with his wife, Newbery Award-winning author Katherine Paterson, on CONSIDER THE LILIES, IMAGES OF GOD, and BLUEBERRIES FOR THE QUEEN. They live in Barre, Vermont. John Jr., a first-time author, lives in New Canaan, Connecticut.

Renato Alarcão has illustrated many children’s books, including RED RIDIN' IN THE HOOD AND OTHER CUENTOS by Patricia Santos Marcantonio. He lives in Brazil.

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