Young Lolo, the baby of the family, is used to getting lots of positive attention, but when the time comes for her big sister Eva's quinceañera , Lolo suddenly finds herself out of the spotlight. The entire extended family has gathered to prepare for the event: the girls are getting into their elaborate gowns, the tías are busy making tamales, the tíos are hanging strands of lights in the backyard. Amid all the bustle, Lolo goes unnoticeduntil when she accidentally lets the family dog out and he romps disruptively through the preparations, stealing the sash to Eva's dress. Lolo comes to the rescue by retrieving the sash, and she finds herself in the spotlight once more. This could have easily become the story of an annoying, attention-seeking little sister trying to ruin her big sister's big day; fortunately, Lolo is too spirited and spunky a little protagonist to resent; even when the spotlight on her ostensibly dims, she vivaciously flies from group to group, doing her own thing with a big grin on her face. The story is honest about the fact that Lolo is the source of both the conflict and the resolution, a detail that gives her character dimension and presents her as someone who learns from mistakes and tries her hardest to right wrongs. Avilés incorporates a warm palette of roses, aquas, deep oranges, and springy greens to illustrate the story; her acrylic and watercolor compositions have a somewhat old-fashioned feel, with the wide-faced, big-eyed figure (reminiscent of Vera Rosenberry's characters) looking almost doll-like. There is abundant joy in this tale of a big extended family preparing for an exciting special event, and audiencemembers will relish being included. A Spanish glossary is included.
Library Media Connection
An adorable collaboration of two talented artists creates a memorable tale celebrating Hispanic tradition and family life. A nameless little girl feels invisible to her family as her sister Eva prepares for her quinceañera (15th birthday party). She plays with her dog, Gobi, until she makes a big mistake, causing the entire family to notice her and the dog. The text provides cultural authenticity by interjecting Spanish words throughout. A glossary is provided in the back of the book. The vibrant color illustrations created with acrylic and liquid watercolor capture the setting of the Southwest and the celebratory mood in the story. The author/artist team makes magic in reality and should consider other books focusing on family culture. This is a fun and engaging story all can relate to, perfect for primary grade students. Recommended.
Children's Literature - Mary Hynes-Berry
Lolo is used to being the center of attention as the youngest in her large extended family. But all of that changes when everyone is feverishly involved in preparations for her big sister Eva's quinceaneraa girl's 15th birthday party that is the equivalent of a bat mitzvah for many Latino families. As she goes from one group to another, Lolo indulges in mild mischief trying to get someone to notice her. When the dog runs off with the sash for Eva's dress, thanks to Lolo's carelessness, the little girl figures out how to retrieve itthereby earning praise from everyone. Aviles's warm-toned illustrations play up the excitement around the celebration. A glossary at the end of the text helps those who are unfamiliar with the quinceanera understand this cultural tradition. Whether or not their families observe this particular festival, many young children will be able to relate to Lolo's ambivalence about sharing the spotlight. The story can be an effective way to open up a discussion about not being self-centered. Reviewer: Mary Hynes-Berry
School Library Journal
Everyone is preparing for Eva's quinceañera (15th birthday) party. No one is paying attention to little sister Lola. In her boredom, she lets the dog out of the laundry room. Gobi quickly runs off with Eva's white sash and it's up to Lola to get it back. When she saves the day, everyone finally notices her. The upbeat acrylics and liquid watercolor on Arches paper capture the excitement and gaiety of the family gathering and this special occasion. Everyone is smiling and upbeat. Even the dilemma is dealt with in a positive manner. Avilés's style is similar to the one she used in Mimi Chapra's Amelia's Show-and-Tell Fiesta (HarperCollins, 2004), and the two stories would complement each other nicely. Children will enjoy this offering and understand Lola's frustration and eventual delight in her sister's celebration.-Sandra Welzenbach, Villarreal Elementary School, San Antonio, TX
Everyone is busy getting ready for Eva's important quincea-era celebration, while younger sister, Lolo, once the lovable baby of the family, feels ignored. When she accidentally lets their scruffy mutt run out of the laundry room and down the street with the sash to Eva's gown clenched between his teeth, hysteria interrupts the preparations. Lolo boldly finds a way to save the dress, the day's festivities and her appreciated status in the family by engineering a tamale exchange with the pup. But it is Eva who is most grateful to her little sister, who feels pride and happiness on this special day. Muted acrylics and watercolors reflect a brown-skinned, rotund and cheerful extended Latino family, with t'os decorating, apron-covered t'as cooking and primos (cousins) playing video games in multicolored clothes. Lolo's first-person narration includes key Spanish words as she recounts the joy and frenzy of the milestone birthday. A well-defined glossary includes a succinct explanation of the quincea-era observance. (Picture book. 5-7)