From School Library Journal
Grade 3-6?Tito, a papier-mache doll, stars in this rather dull tale set in Mexico. With Tito always at their sides, young Juanito and his American friend Kenny engage in a series of minor adventures, including being locked in an abandoned mine, mistaking holiday fire crackers for gun shots, and listening to serenaders. Written in 1935 and unpublished until now, the book has dated and mechanical dialogue. On the whole, the writing has not aged well, and an occasional switch from third person is jarring. The narrative does depict rural Mexican life and holiday celebrations adequately, but there's nothing here that can't be found in many higher-quality titles.?Denise E. Agosto, formerly at Midland County Public Library, TX
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Ages 5^-8. Like Hughes' The Sweet and Sour Animal Book
(1994), this gentle fantasy was first written in the mid-1930s, never found a publisher, was recently "uncovered" among Hughes' papers, and is published now for the first time (as part of the Opie Library). And like the Animal
book, this will appeal more to adult collectors than to children. The story is set in a small town in Mexico and tells of the friendship between two boys, a Mexican and an American, and their little pasteboard carnival toy. The style is saccharine and cute (the word little
appears several times on nearly every page), and the fantasy framework is contrived. However, the friendship across cultures is drawn without condescension; the Mexican setting is authentic and joyful, from food and scenery to language and pinatas; and Turley's gorgeously colored acrylic illustrations evoke Mexican folk art and murals. Older readers will be fascinated by the biographical and historical notes about Hughes and Bontemps and their friendship. An exhibit with the paintings and the story of the book is touring the country. Hazel Rochman