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Celia Cruz, Queen of Salsa Paperback – July 19, 2007
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From School Library Journal
Grade 2–4—This biography (Dial, 2005) of Veronica Chambers's childhood idol pays tribute to the child from Havana, Cuba who became "musical royalty." She did not covet fame, but said "I sing for my parents, the ancestors, and the saints." She left Cuba and became a worldwide star, but was never allowed to return to her homeland again. A glossary explains the sprinkling of Spanish words and phrases in the text. Julie Maren's jewel tone paintings celebrate Havana's culture. Michelle Manzo, a Cuban/Dominican singer, brings a lilting Latina quality to the reading of the story, which is punctuated with music ranging from simple melodies to complete renditions of musc by renowned Latin musicians as such as Tito Puentes and Johnny Pacheco as well as the song "Quimbara" by Celia Cruz and Johnny Pacheco. An excellent introduction to Cruz and Latino culture and music.—J. Connor, Campbell County Public Library, Cold Spring, KY
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
Gr. 2-4, younger for reading aloud. In this picture-book biography, Chambers offers a brief, lyrical tribute to salsa superstar Celia Cruz. Short paragraphs follow the vocalist from her Havana childhood, where neighbors crowded the street to hear young Celia sing to her family, to her heartbreaking emigration from Cuba and worldwide stardom. Chambers writes in figurative language that, while adding a whimsical, fairy-tale quality to the story, may confuse younger children ("Celia would grow up to be a queen, but she was not born a princess"), and specific musical references, such as "Afro-Cuban rhythms," will likely be lost on youngsters. That said, Chambers' enthusiasm for her subject is contagious, and the bright, uncluttered paintings of rounded, stylized figures in saturated, tropical hues echo the energy in the words. With few books about Cruz available for this age group, this is a welcome addition to the biography shelves. An author's note, a discography, and a glossary of Spanish words used in the text are appended. Suggest this with Andrea Davis Pinkney's Ella Fitzgerald (2002) for another picture-book view of a legendary female vocalist. Gillian Engberg
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.