Frederico and the Wolf by Rebecca J. Gomez ill by Elisa Chavarri
Once upon a modern time...
Gomez takes the well-known tale of "Little Red Riding Hood," dresses the main character in a scarlet hoodie, adds a distinctive Latin flavor, and sets it to a rhythmic beat. It's Federico and the Wolf, a contemporary retelling.
In this version, young Federico bikes to his grandfather's shop. First he stops to purchase ingredients for pico de gallo. He and grandfather plan to enjoy lunch together and then whip up a batch of hot salsa.
Federico is on his way with a basket of groceries when a hungry wolf appears and declares his intent to devour this niño. It takes some quick thinking and a large habanero to outwit un lobo.
At the tale's conclusion, Gomez shares a recipe for pico de gallo. She adds a glossary of Spanish words and phrases with pronunciation guide along with definitions.
Brick by Brick by Heidi Woodward Sheffield
Nuestra casa para siempre-
our always house.
Brick mason meets young reader. Sheffield has ingeniously woven together the building of an architectural structure and the creation a reader. Both are busy: constructing brick by brick, book by book.
Pages views alternate between parallel activities. Papa scales the scaffolding while Luis scrambles up playground equipment. Papa mixes mortar and trowels a layer of cement as Luis molds clay. Papa stacks bricks row by row and Luis arranges a tower of his favorite stories, book upon book.
The heart of the story is the relationship between a father and son. Luis rides on his father's shoulders while wearing papa's hard hat. The two share a warm abrazo.
Together they work and plan for the fulfillment of a dream: a house that they can call home.
SCRRRRAPES drips the mortar
KERCHUNKS lunch box closes
WHIRRRRRR a mixer at work
WHOOOSH water added to the slurry
Illustrations are stellar. Sheffield's collages of textures, colors, shapes and snippets of photographs are ingenious. Artistic assemblages are enhanced with painted details.
Observant readers will find papa's boots are photographs of actual work boots. The United States flag is a collection of irregular red and white stripes, hand drawn stars on a blue background and a snippet of blue jeans. Pieces of actual brick form the buildings. Multicolor angular shapes become falling autumn leaves.