From School Library Journal
Gr 6 Up-Francisco Jimenez was born in Mexico, entered California illegally as a very young child, and spent his boyhood alternating between migrant farm work and the classroom. This collection of autobiographical short stories was written years later, when Jimenez had become an established professor at Santa Clara University (CA), but they give immediate access to the feelings of the growing boy. Adrian Vargas reads in a lightly accented English, offering a voice that is evidently that of the full grown man remembering, rather than that of the youth he remembers. Each story is simple, direct, and redolent with the smells of the earth, the sounds of the ever-changing home with its growing number of siblings, and the amazing experiences each new schoolroom offers. The frustrations range from those specific to poverty and migrancy, including the inability to follow up on promises made by a good teacher because the family moves on the day the offer of trumpet lessons has been proffered, through the universal experience of an older brother saddled with an ignorant younger sibling who insensitively feeds his prized penny collection into the grocery store's gumball machine. Jimenez and Vargas both maintain a leisurely pace appropriate to storytelling that can reach a wide audience, giving the images constructed from words time to bloom in the audience's mind before wrapping each tale in a tight, often surprising, close. Highly recommended for both pleasure listening and for classroom use and discussion.
Francisca Goldsmith, Berkeley Public Library, CA
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
--This text refers to the
"Readers of this book will gain insight into...the lives of immigrant families." Book Links November 2007 Book Links, ALA