Grade 1-3–A young boy is going to Mexico to visit his grandmother, and he is concerned. After all, she speaks very little English, and his Spanish is vestigial. His mother assures him that all will be well and that he will come home speaking Spanish. His insecurities begin to vanish when he discovers his grandmother's job. She is a canta in a lotería booth, a game similar to Bingo. However, in place of numbers, there are cards with pictures on them, matching the pictures on the board. His grandmother calls out a rhyme that corresponds to each picture, and the boy is caught. He wants to know those rhymes. His grandmother is only too happy to teach him, but only if he will teach her English. There are a few rough spots along the way, but by the time his mother shows up to fetch him, the young hero is... the best caller in San Luis! This is a warm and reassuring story of a boy's involvement not only with his family but also his culture. The prose flows easily in both English and Spanish. Arena's spirited primitive acrylics are reminiscent of Anita de Lucio-Brock's art for Juan Felipe Herrera's Grandma and Me at the Flea/Los meros meros remateros (Children's Book Press, 2002) in color and sense of place.
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