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Juan Bobo Goes to Work: A Puerto Rican Folk Tale Hardcover – September 19, 2000


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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Kindergarten-Grade 3-Juan Bobo, the Puerto Rican equivalent of Foolish Jack, can't seem to get anything right. Sent off by his mother to find work, he causes one disaster after another, and manages to lose or destroy his payment in a variety of amusing ways. As luck would have it, one of the boy's misadventures brings laughter to the rich man's daughter, and Juan at last receives compensation that he can hold on to. Montes tells her story well, but Cepeda's illustrations steal the show. Using his distinctive, vibrantly colored acrylics, the artist creates a character whose innocence, confusion, and contrition are endearing. The text is heavily peppered with Spanish phrases, but a glossary and an author's note are included. Another lively addition to folktale shelves.
Grace Oliff, Ann Blanche Smith School, Hillsdale, NJ
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Ages 3-8. In this Puerto Rican parallel to Lazy Jack, Juan Bobo has the same problems with coins, milk, cheese, and other payments as his English counterpart. When Juan makes the rich girl laugh, however, her father repays him with a ham every Sunday. This altered ending fits the setting but occurs abruptly. Otherwise, the funny, well-paced retelling smoothly incorporates Spanish words and phrases. Most are easily understood in context, but an appended glossary provides pronunciations as well as definitions. An author's note adds cultural background about Juan Bobo but cites no specific source for the story. Using bold, bright Caribbean colors, Cepeda's oil paintings amplify Juan's silliness and charm. Brush strokes add texture, and background details establish the Puerto Rican setting. An obvious candidate for multicultural units, this will be popular wherever children love to laugh. Linda Perkins
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 4
  • Lexile Measure: 390L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Rayo; 1st edition (September 19, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0688162339
  • ISBN-13: 978-0688162337
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 0.2 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #432,164 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By sharon a bonney on July 26, 2001
Format: Hardcover
I am a Spanish teacher at the elementary school level and have read this book to children from 5 to 9 years of age and they all adore the ridiculous Juan Bobo. Unlike any other books I've read to them, kids will look for Juan Bobo books in the library and ask to borrow mine. We call each other "silly vaca" like Juan calls the cow that he thinks has turned to stone but which is immobile because Juan has tied his legs together. He was just doing as he was told, tying up the cow before he milks it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Nuri Sutter on September 19, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is a beautifully written and illustrated book with many full-page and very colorful illustrations. The book size is approximately 9-1/2 inches by 11 inches and so is a good size for young ones to be able to handle easily. Yet, it is not heavy to handle; it has approximately 30 pages and won the Silver Pura Belpre Honor Book award. I highly recommend this book.

I received this book in record time from the vendor and highly recommend them as well.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 19, 2001
Format: Hardcover
I always enjoy reading different versions of fairy and folk-tales. This a fun Puerto Rican version of the Lazy Jack stories. Actually, I like the ending better than in Lazy Jack. It bothered me that some poor girl would be stuck marrying a fool like Lazy Jack simply because he made her laugh. That could make for a very looooong, trying marriage! But a useful reward, that seems quite appropriate. Anyway, the illustrations are cheery and charming. A nice addition to a folktale collection!
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By a.gallegos on November 25, 2012
Format: Hardcover
This book was a fun tale of a little boy named Juan Bobo who just can't seem to get anything right. He is a silly, lovable character who many kids would be able to relate to. Although he is not able to follow all of Mama's instructions, he is still able to teach children an important lesson about hard work and perseverance. Even though he fails to bring home his reward, he keeps trying because he wants to make his mother proud. Throughout the story, my students and I kept trying to guess whether or not Juan Bobo would finally succeed and get the job done right. It kept us in suspense, wanting to turn the page and see what happens next. What I loved most about this book is how it incorporated Spanish into the story. Simple phrases such as "gracias" that were repeated throughout the book were easy for the kids to learn and understand. This book would be a great way to introduce children to a new culture and show them how other kids around the world live. This story is clearly deserving of this award and does a great job of sharing Latino culture with our youth.
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By cdc_219 on November 28, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Juan Bobo Goes to Work is comical story of a crazy young boy with a heart eager to please but one who often misunderstands simple instruction. Each day Juan Bobo's misjudgments on the job or on his way home keep the reader engaged and laughing. In the end, it was Juan Bobo's misunderstanding of his mother's instruction that saves a little rich girls life through the laughter she expresses after Juan Bobo's blunders. This story is a glowing example that it is through parent/teacher interaction and assistance with children that they learn to make sense of their world and learn from their mistakes. Adult guides aide children in working through and solving simple problems. The illustrations in the story are full of rich, boldly colored oil paintings that display a happy go lucky boy unaware of his foolish acts as he trots along and also provide a realistic image of Puerto Rico where the story takes place.
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By Jessica on November 24, 2012
Format: Hardcover
This book will have you laughing from beginning to end! "So everyone called him Juan Bobo, which means "Simple John." (Montes, 1) "Simple John" fits his character in some ways but not in others. "Simple John" simply does what he is told. However, I am sure he makes his mother very inpatient due to his silly acts making it very complicated. Montez uses Spanish words throughout the book, which help add personality to the book. The illustrations create very colorful pages filled with detail. Bilingual teacher or not I would definitely use this book in my classroom.
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By BacciThis on May 12, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My school was having an international celebration and our class was chosen to represent Puerto Rico. Of all the Puerto Rican stories and tales that we learned about this story stood out the most. The entire class loved Juan Bobo and his antics. They laughed, yelled, and applauded through the story. Needless to say, we read over and over. That was 3 years ago and my former students still remember this story. I read it every year and each class loves it. I love it too! It's a funny story with meaning and a great ending! Viva Juan Bobo!
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