Gr 1-4-Both text and art have been completely revised from Flora's original version (Harcourt, 1955; o.p.) of this title. Pepito and Amelia live with their parents in the village of Santiago. Collectively they are known as The Fabulous Firework Family because they create the finest pyrotechnic displays in all of Mexico. At the request of some dignitaries, they construct the largest, noisiest, and most colorful firework castillo for the birthday celebration of their village's patron saint. Updated and significantly shortened, the text reads more smoothly than the earlier edition. Phrases that today sound a bit stilted have been modified, and entire episodes have been cut, making the narrative much less convoluted. One subplot about a pickpocket and the chain reaction leading to his capture was retained. While a bit superfluous, it adds tension and slapstick humor. A brief prefatory explanation of the tradition of fireworks in Mexican celebrations is a nice addition. More Spanish words have been included, both within the narrative and in the illustrations, adding flavor and visual interest. Unfortunately, no pronunciation guide is given, there are errors in the use of accents, and inclusion of definite articles in the labeling is inconsistent. The pen-and-watercolor illustrations are more colorful and more detailed, but are rendered in the same simple, two-dimensional style of the originals. Flora's bright blues, pinks, and yellows capture the festive atmosphere, and the busy, detailed drawings are fun to pore over. An entertaining story that gives children a glimpse of another culture.-Lauren Mayer, New York Public Library
The revised edition of a 1955 picture book set in a Mexican village, this features new, brighter illustrations and a somewhat rewritten story, both incorporating some Spanish words. Engaged to make fireworks for the celebration of the village saint's day, the Fabulous Firework Family works to create the best display ever and then enjoys the village festival, highlighted by their own handiwork. The appearance and capture of a pickpocket provide perfunctory plot interest, but children will be more intrigued by the making and the performance of the fireworks. Though crowded with detail, the artwork is lively and bright. For larger libraries and those seeking picture books set in Mexico.