When This World Was New

Overview

Danilito and his parents have just arrived in New York from their Caribbean island home. They have a place to live and some warm clothing for their first winter. But Danilto is worried. How can he go to school when he speaks no English? How will he find friends among all these strangers? The next morning Papa wakes Danilito up, telling him to look out the window. "Nieve," Papa explains. "Snow." The two explore the magical world of their first snowfall in New York, and Danilito ...
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Overview

Danilito and his parents have just arrived in New York from their Caribbean island home. They have a place to live and some warm clothing for their first winter. But Danilto is worried. How can he go to school when he speaks no English? How will he find friends among all these strangers? The next morning Papa wakes Danilito up, telling him to look out the window. "Nieve," Papa explains. "Snow." The two explore the magical world of their first snowfall in New York, and Danilito finds that he is still scared. But not as much.

When his father leads him on a magical trip of discovery through new fallen snow, a young boy who emigrated from his warm island home overcomes fears about living in New York.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In his first picture book, Figueredo offers a boy's first-person account of his Spanish-speaking family's arrival in the United States from "an island on an ocean that was warm and far away." After taking two airplanes to reach a large northern city, Danilito and his parents are greeted by Uncle Berto, who drives them to his home. Though the child feels anxious about going to a school where no one speaks his language, a blizzard outside his window fills him with wonder (he describes the sight as "a magic I had never seen before"). The story takes a winding path, but Figueredo succeeds in conveying his young narrator's credible emotions and close rapport with his parents and uncle. Sanchez's (Abuela's Weave) acrylic paintings achieve such softness that they appear to be rendered in pastels. Even when set in the intimidating city, the illustrations in gentle tones of reds and blues create the feeling that the boy's transition to a new life and culture will be a smooth one. Ages 3-10. (May) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature - Mary Quattlebaum
Taking two planes, Danilito and his parents leave behind their warm Spanish-speaking island home and journey to the United States. Danilito worries-the ice is slippery, everyone speaks English, and his mother seems to have forgotten how to smile. But an early-morning walk with Papa in the falling snow allows Danilito to make his own mark on this beautiful land, perhaps foreshadowing adult contributions later in his life. D.H. Figueredo's text keeps well to a young child's point of view, with some lovely poetic touches. Danilito describes the snow as floating "white rose petals" and the lights of New York City as being like the "stars of a Caribbean night." Enrique Sanchez's bright acrylics are in keeping with the story's hopeful tone.
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3-When his family leaves their warm Caribbean island to come to the United States, Danilito is apprehensive. Everything is new-the cold weather, the heavy clothing, the language. But the first morning in his new home brings the wondrous discovery of snow, "millions of white rose petals floating downwards," a magic that turns parked cars into polar bears and silences all sounds. Before Uncle Berto comes to drive Danilito to his new school and Pap to a factory job, father and son make snowballs and footprints together. Although the boy is still frightened, it's "not as much." The language is simple and the imagery is appropriate to the viewpoint of a young child. A few phrases of Spanish are used and translated. The rounded forms and soft colors in the acrylic paintings emphasize the gentle affection of this close-knit family. Mam 's smile, Pap 's anxious pleasure, and Danilito's joy in the snowfall are beautifully portrayed in warm tones. Danilito may worry about the unknown, but he accepts and embraces his new world so that even his greatest fear, falling on ice, becomes one more marvel, as readers see him on the last page ice skating while his smiling parents watch.-Marian Drabkin, Richmond Public Library, CA Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Figueredo puts a happy face on the difficult transition of a young boy's emigration to America from his Caribbean island home. Danilito flies with his mother and father to an airport where strangers rush about. The narrator's uncle takes them to a house, described in short, bland sentences. "We went inside. There was a living room and a kitchen and two bedrooms. All the rooms had furniture." A few Spanish phrases are tossed in. The next morning, Danilito faces winter clothing and the prospect of school, daunting prospects until he and his father witness the snowfall. With that, an adjustment that realistically take months appears to take place in a few hours, with the snow facilitating the transformation. The clipped sentences tell rather than show, leaving readers emotionally disengaged from Danilito's plight; fuzzy-edged drawings, full of rounded shapes and soft colors, match the oversimplified, rosy picture of a newcomer's life. (Picture book. 4-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780613836883
  • Publisher: Demco Media
  • Publication date: 1/28/1999
  • Format: Library Binding
  • Pages: 32
  • Product dimensions: 8.08 (w) x 10.14 (h) x 0.36 (d)

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