From School Library Journal
Kindergarten-Grade 4-Based on a folktale from Panama, this lively retelling has a delightful blend of Spanish and English. MacDonald skillfully provides word meanings in context, as in this example: Conejito is told by his Mama that when he visits Tía Mónica, She will feed you cakes and cookies and every good thing-¦until you are¡Gordito! ¡Gordito! ¡Gordito
! Fat! Fat! Fat! The plot skips along predictably as Conejito meets and tricks Señor Zorro (Mr. Fox), Señor Tigre (Mr. Tiger), and Señor León (Mr. Lion). Children will eagerly join in singing Conejito's song: I have a sweet old auntie,/my Tía Mónica!/And when she goes out dancing-¦/they all say 'Ooo la la!' Valério's full-color acrylic illustrations stretch across each spread, reflecting a folk-art motif that perfectly complements the story. Movement and energy are captured in the animated characters. A pronunciation guide and an author's note giving the source for both the story and song are helpful additions. This book is sure to encourage participation. It begs to be read aloud with a group.-Lee Bock, Glenbrook Elementary School, Pulaski, WI
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K-Gr. 3. Tricksters from around the world echo in the character of Conejito, Little Rabbit, who emerges unscathed from a risky journey in this Panamanian folktale. He must go up the mountain to visit his aunt, but how will he evade Senor Zorro (Mr. Fox), Senor Tigre (Mr. Tiger), and Senor Leon (Mr. Lion)? Clever Conejito stalls, telling them that he is much too skinny (Flaquito!
) but that when he returns from his aunt's he will be plump (Gordito!
). Sure enough, Tia Monica feeds him up until he is "healthy and strong and fat as a butterball," then sends him home with sly advice about how to distract the predators. Rhyming refrains invite the participation of young listeners, who will especially enjoy singing Conejito's special "Tia Monica Song" to the tune provided, and repeating the smoothly incorporated Spanish words and phrases (for which a pronunciation guide is appended). Valerio's splashy tropical colors and elongated, rubbery characters, often stretching across an entire spread, capture the tale's bouncing energy. GraceAnne DeCandidoCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved