From School Library Journal
Grade 2-4?Lyrically phrased in both Spanish and English, this warm family story opens a window to a rural Mexican upbringing. The narrator and her brother investigate a haunted house and recount the story of Juan Sebastian, whose ghost is said to visit it. Frightened by strange noises, the two run from the house straight into the music coming from the new jukebox at the cantina. Entranced, they begin to visit the bar nightly, until their mother discovers them. Exiled from the place, the children discover that their father knows all of their favorite songs and will sing for them. Readers will identify with traditions and memories of special times. Reisberg's brilliantly colored, primitive illustrations and arresting borders add immeasurably to the sense of place. This is a sure winner for storytimes as well as a solid addition for schools with Spanish-speaking students.?Ann Welton, Terminal Park Elementary School, Auburn, WA
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Ages 5-9. Like a grandmother telling stories to her grandchildren, the author recalls part of her childhood in a small town in Mexico, spinning her tale in a delicate thread of anecdotes. She recalls how, together with her brother, Victor, she explored the spooky, deserted house of local hero Juan Sebastian, hearing later from her grandmother that Sebastian followed his "destiny" to fight and die in the Mexican Revolution. She also remembers sitting outside the cantina with her brother, waiting for favorite songs on the jukebox, and listening to stories and songs in their cozy home, contemplating what their own destinies might be. Bold, cheery illustrations will help attract readers to the unusually sophisticated (though still accessible) text, which appears on the page in both English and Spanish. Susan Dove Lempke