Tito Puente, Mambo King/Tito Puente, Rey del Mambo

Tito Puente, Mambo King/Tito Puente, Rey del Mambo

by Monica Brown, Rafael Lopez
     
 

In this vibrant bilingual picture book biography of musician Tito Puente, readers will dance along to the beat of this mambo king's life. Tito Puente loved banging pots and pans as a child, but what he really dreamed of was having his own band one day. From Spanish Harlem to the Grammy Awards—and all the beats in between—this is the true life story of a

Overview

In this vibrant bilingual picture book biography of musician Tito Puente, readers will dance along to the beat of this mambo king's life. Tito Puente loved banging pots and pans as a child, but what he really dreamed of was having his own band one day. From Spanish Harlem to the Grammy Awards—and all the beats in between—this is the true life story of a boy whose passion for music turned him into the "King of Mambo."

Award-winning author-illustrator duo Monica Brown and Rafael López bring the remarkable story of this talented legend to life in this Pura Belpré Honor Book. Supports the Common Core State Standards.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
As Brown explains, Tito Puente (1923–2000) made music his entire life, from banging “spoons and forks on pots and pans, windowsills and cans,” to learning the saxophone while serving in the Navy during WWII, studying at Juilliard, and leading the big band that carried his name. Brown’s bilingual text echoes the rhythms of salsa, mambo, and jazz (“The claves smacked clackity clackity clack clack”), yet feels somewhat subdued next to Lopez’s sizzling acrylics, which have a weathered, mural-like quality but are anything but flat. Ages 4–8. Agent: Stefanie Von Borstel, Full Circle Literary. (Mar.)
Tito Puente Jr.
“My father was an inspiration to many generations of Latin music fans worldwide. This book is a testament to that. Now his name and likeness will reach a brand new group of young fans who will discover his genius and talent.”
ALA Booklist
Like so many of Brown’s biographies, Tito’s story introduces readers to a vibrant Latino figure. Award-winning illustrator López brings Tito’s story to life in vibrant acrylic salsa reds and oranges, which are splashed behind every shake of Tito’s hips and wink of his eyes.
Horn Book Magazine
“...Irresistable...The vibrant imagery hums right off the page, full of high-contrast color and energetic composition, and decorated with swirling, starry embellishments.
Children's Literature - Barbara L. Talcroft
Birds, cats, the moon, the sun—and especially musicians and dancers! Those are the icons of Tito Puente's life (1923—2000) in this joyfully pulsating dual-language book, with both English and Spanish on each page. As a baby, little Tito banged on pans with spoons. Soon, he progressed to music lessons and tap dancing. Winner of a talent show in his native Spanish Harlem (where, like most New York kids, he also played stickball in the street), Tito performed with his band named Los Happy Boys and joined a Navy band during World War II. After the war, he attended the Juilliard School and finally got his own band. The Tito Puente Orchestra played at the Palladium with trumpets and trombones, claves, tambourines, conga and bongo drums, and Tito's specialty, timbales. He was truly "Rey del Mambo"—the Mambo King. Lopez's wide two-page spreads are full of salsa-bright colors, pulsing rhythms, sharp angles, details of Latino life in New York, and big color-filled swirls symbolizing the music, often accompanied by a flamboyant bird. Though it is hard to choose, the best illustration is perhaps a long vertical spread depicting Tito floating in a white suit surrounded by New York Harbor, skyscrapers, a hot-air balloon, an airplane, and above his head, the first of his five Grammies—all in a star-filled black sky. That would make a great poster! Brown includes a short biography and a decorative final page with music for a simple rhumba beat, traditionally played by bongos, congas, and the timbales. For another bilingual book by Brown and Lopez, check out their collaboration My Name is Celia/Me Llamo Celia (Cooper Square, 2004), a Pura Belpre Honor book about Cuban singer Celia Cruz. Reviewer: Barbara L. Talcroft
School Library Journal
Gr 3–6—This is a Spanish translation of a book that previously appeared in English as Love, Amalia. When Amalia's friend Martha moves away, she deals with an acute feeling of loss that is soothed by her grandmother. The book portrays this loving relationship in a very tender way that is made all the more poignant when Amalia's grandmother passes away. At the end of the story Amalia reconnects with Martha via a letter, and works to reforge a connection. The book includes recipes for the dishes that Amalia and her abuela make together.
Kirkus Reviews
Brown and López, who previously teamed for the award-winning My Name Is Celia (2004), collaborate anew in this energetic bilingual tribute to the salsa drummer and band leader extraordinaire. Brown's narrative, simply phrased and peppered with exclamation points, takes her preschool and primary audience from Tito's toddlerhood, banging "spoons and forks on pots and pans," through childhood loves: drum lessons, dancing and stickball on the streets of Harlem. Bouncing through the musician's adulthood, Brown highlights early gigs, a Navy stint (where he learned to play sax) and regular shows at the Palladium in New York City. Puente's dream of heading his own band comes true in a single page turn (though López's depiction of the now white-haired drummer does attest to time's passage). A percussive refrain, fun to read and hear, pops up as part of the Spanish text but resonates in either language: "¡Tum Tica! / ¡Tac Tic! / ¡Tum Tic! / ¡Tom Tom!" López's pictures, layered acrylics on prepared wooden boards, convey salsa's rhythmic exuberance via a riotous palette that includes electric orange, chocolate brown, pale teal, and touches of pink and purple. Multihued swirls and plumes emanate from Tito's timbales and drumsticks; Celia Cruz (a frequent collaborator) soars in a costume whose fuchsia feathers seem to morph from the sea green waves below. A vibrant, reverent celebration of the godfather of salsa. (biographical note; brief musical notation for rumba beat included in the text) (Bilingual picture book/biography. 4-8)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780061227837
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
03/05/2013
Pages:
32
Sales rank:
204,038
Product dimensions:
10.30(w) x 10.20(h) x 0.40(d)
Lexile:
AD740L (what's this?)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

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What People are saying about this

Tito Puente Jr.

“Brown and Lopez collaborate in this energetic bilingual tribute to salsa drummer and band leader extraordinaire. Lopez’s pictures convey salsa’s rhythmic exuberance via a riotous palette. A vibrant, reverent celebration of the godfather of salsa.”

Meet the Author

Monica Brown is the author of Pele, King Of Soccer/Pele, El rey del futbol and Side by Side/Lado a lado as well as the Pura Belpre Honor winners My Name is Celia/Me llamo Celia and My Name Is Gabito/Mi Llamo Gabito. Monica lives in Flagstaff, Arizona, with her husband and two daughters.

Monica Brown es la autora de Pele, King Of Soccer/Pele, El rey del futbol y Side by Side/Lado a lado, y de los libros ganadores del Honor Pura Belpré My Name is Celia/Me llamo Celia y My Name Is Gabito/Mi Llamo Gabito. Monica vive en Flagstaff, Arizona, con su marido y sus dos hijas.

Rafael Lopez is the award-winning illustrator of My Name is Celia/Me llamo Celia and Book Fiesta! Rafael divides his time between his studios in the colonial town of San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, and a loft in downtown San Diego, where he works and lives with his wife and son.

Rafael Lopez es el ilustrador premiado de My Name is Celia/Me llamo Celia y Book Fiesta! Rafael divide su tiempo entre sus talleres en San Miguel de Allende, Mexico y San Diego, California.

Monica Brown is the author of Pele, King Of Soccer/Pele, El rey del futbol and Side by Side/Lado a lado as well as the Pura Belpre Honor winners My Name is Celia/Me llamo Celia and My Name Is Gabito/Mi Llamo Gabito. Monica lives in Flagstaff, Arizona, with her husband and two daughters.

Monica Brown es la autora de Pele, King Of Soccer/Pele, El rey del futbol y Side by Side/Lado a lado, y de los libros ganadores del Honor Pura Belpré My Name is Celia/Me llamo Celia y My Name Is Gabito/Mi Llamo Gabito. Monica vive en Flagstaff, Arizona, con su marido y sus dos hijas.

Rafael Lopez is the award-winning illustrator of My Name is Celia/Me llamo Celia and Book Fiesta! Rafael divides his time between his studios in the colonial town of San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, and a loft in downtown San Diego, where he works and lives with his wife and son.

Rafael Lopez es el ilustrador premiado de My Name is Celia/Me llamo Celia y Book Fiesta! Rafael divide su tiempo entre sus talleres en San Miguel de Allende, Mexico y San Diego, California.

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