Winter (Josefina; Day of the Dead) revisits Mexico and its traditions in this chipper original tale. Nino dreams of playing a role in the annual village Fiesta of the Tigre (festival of the jaguar). "Can I wear a mask this year?" he asks his father, but the answer is always "When you are older, Nino." Not to be put off, the enterprising lad decides to carve his own mask. Should he be a conejo (rabbit)? A ciervo (deer)? He finally settles on the hero role of perro (dog), who chases and catches the tigre (a jaguar, "who would kill our corn," Nino explains). A series of panels shows the boy methodically carving and painting his mask. Nino has a grand time at the fiesta, and a climactic split spread depicts the perro closing in on the tigre; everyone acts surprised when Nino is finally unmasked. Winter neatly slots her crisp prose into speech bubbles, lending the outing an inviting look and a rapid pace. She laces the pages not only with Spanish words but with Mexican motifs (including vibrant designs on the townspeople's clothing). Winter punches up stylized south-of-the-border architecture with shades of fuchsia, turquoise and aqua, while setting off freshly plowed fields of mauve and melon with an orange sun rising in a rosy pink sky. A small glossary and brief illustrated endnote, explaining the role of masks in Mexican celebrations, further bolster this eye-catching book. Ages 4-8. (Mar.) Copyright 2003 Cahners Business Information.
What distinguishes this book for young readers is its faithful reflection of Mexican folk art and its informative Spanish-language glossary. Not only does the book create the cultural atmosphere of a small Mexican village in fiesta time, it awakens in the child the pleasure of creating his or her own art. Told by his parents that he must wait until he is older to take part in the festive hunt for the "Tigre" that ensures a good corn harvest, Ni�o ponders the different masks he might make on his own, settling on "Perro." Having successfully carved the mask from a tree trunk, he pursues the masked "Tigre," saves the crops for the coming year, and wins the acclaim of his parents and fellow villagers. The colorful and textured patterns of the illustrations are inspired by the Mexican motifs and contribute to the folkloric energy. Hand-lettered dialogue balloons are used exclusively. Some may find the balloons too reminiscent of the comic book genre and a distraction for beginning readers. 2003, Dial Books for Young Readers/Penguin Putnam,
Lesley Lee Francis
K-Gr 2-Nino aspires to play the role of the perro in the Fiesta of the Tigre in his small Mexican village. Despite being told that he must wait until he is older, he is determined to perform the part of the animal that ensures the success of the corn crop by chasing the tiger out of town. He carefully watches the local mask maker, and when ready, carves and paints a mask of a dog to wear during the festivities. This simply told story is about a colorful cultural and artistic tradition and a boy's longing to be part of it. The tale and the art begin on the endpapers as adults and children anticipate the coming fiesta. Winter stages her scenes in shallow spaces and makes the most of unusual angles and foreshortening. Outlined in black and featuring bright blues, greens, pinks, and yellows, they suggest the vibrant color and detail of Mexican folk art. This title would make a great introduction to George Ancona's photo-essays on Mexican artisans: The Folk Arts (Benchmark, 2001) and The Pi ata Maker/El pi atero (Harcourt, 1994).-Daryl Grabarek, School Library Journal Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Winter (Beatrix, above, etc.) communicates her abiding interest in Mexican culture with this wonderfully atmospheric, all-dialogue tale of a child who leads a ritual chase in his village's annual Fiesta of the Tigre (jaguar). His parents bid him wait until he's older, but so great is little Ni-o's determination to participate in the upcoming festival that he cuts, carves, and paints a wooden dog's mask with minimal adult help. Evoking Mexican folk art, both with characteristic motifs and saturated colors, Winter follows her young artist as he discovers the animal "hidden" within his rough block. He dons the finished mask, chases the costumed "tigre" through fields and village streets, then trips it up at last, earning both general acclaim from fellow villagers, and a guarantee of good crops for the coming year. The hand-lettered text, placed in balloons, is sprinkled with Spanish (superfluously translated at the end), and Winter depicts more masks and costumes in a closing gallery. Children of any cultural background will enjoy this glimpse of Ni-o's world, and understand the profound pleasure he takes in creating art. (Picture book. 6-9)