From Library Journal
Kindergarten-Grade 3-Mora succeeds in creating a quiet story to which children will respond. Stella loves her mother very much, but sometimes she is just a little embarrassed that she can't speak English and doesn't dress like the other mothers. Despite her awareness that her Hispanic family is different from the other families in her neighborhood, Stella fits in well and enjoys school. Her excitement over the May parade mirrors that of the other girls in her class. They will all be tulips, and Stella has definite ideas about her costume: it must include all of the spring colors. But when the big day arrives and Stella sees the other girls, each dressed in one color, she feels that she's made a mistake. However, her perfect execution of the Maypole dance, her teacher's approval, and, above all, her mother's quiet love result in a memorable day for Stella. Based on a story from the author's mother's childhood, and perfectly extended by soft, warm pastel drawings framed in white, this tale of family love and support crosses cultural boundaries and may remind youngsters of times when their families made all the difference. Pair this with Mary Hoffman's Amazing Grace (Dial, 1991), another story of an irrepressible child supported by a loving family.
Ann Welton, Terminal Park Elementary School, Auburn, WA
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
In a picture book based on her mother's childhood, Mora tells of a Mexican American immigrant child who feels caught between her Spanish home and the English world outside. At home she's Estelita. At school she's Stella. There's not much story: when she goes to the May parade at school in a tulip costume of many colors, she worries that she looks different from everyone else, only to realize that it's fine to be different. What many immigrant kids will enjoy is the bicultural experience. The scenarios in words and soft-toned pictures show the warm, loving family and also the fun and success at school. At first, the child is ashamed of her quiet, old-fashioned mother, but her parents keep a piece of Mexico at home, and Estelita/Stella comes to value her dual heritage, even though it is hard to be different. Hazel Rochman
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