Hello, friends! Our book today is A Song of Frutas, written by Margarita Engle and illustrated by Sara Palacios, a heartwarming love letter to family and Cuban culture.
The young narrator opens the story by enthusiastically recounting the delights of visiting her Abuelo and helping him sell frutas – fruits – in the marketplace. When she visits him in Cuba, she relishes the chance to sing out the names of the fruits, haggle prices, and watch the other pregoneros (singing vendors) sell their own exciting wares and treats. Her favorite visits are on the eve of el año nuevo, when she sells grapes and partakes of the tradition of eating all twelve at midnight, making wishes for each. She always saves a wish that friendship between Cuba and the US will grow, so that someday her Abuelo can visit her home as well.
Sweet, immersive, and touching. Engle’s text perfectly captures the colorful and exciting narrative through a child’s eyes, mixing guileless sincerity with fancy and wonder and creating everyday magic on every page. The gorgeous artwork adds to this immensely, filling the scenes with color, atmosphere, and a diverse cast of characters; the little girl and Abuelo are particularly charming. The choice to include Spanglish in the text adds authenticity, as many dual-language Spanish/English speakers use this blended dialect. Backmatter features author’s notes on the Cuban traditions and current travel restrictions mentioned in the story, which are edifying for readers young and old. The length was great for a storytime, and JJ loved this one. Overall, a heartfelt treat, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved!
(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)