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How Tia Lola Came to (Visit) Stay (The Tia Lola Stories) Hardcover – April 10, 2001
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With her brilliantly hued flower-print dresses, her maracas and tambor, and the migrating beauty mark over her lipsticked mouth, Tia Lola stands out in Vermont like a tropical bird in a snowstorm. Her nephew, 10-year-old Miguel, just wants to fit in to his new home. He and his mother and sister have just moved here from New York following his parents' divorce. With his black hair and brown skin, it's hard enough already without the flamboyant antics of his friendly, nutty aunt, visiting from the Dominican Republic. But even while she is dancing her merengues in front of his new friends and painting the white farmhouse purple, Tia Lola is also weaving a magical spell of love and support that Miguel and his wounded family sorely need. Miguel's growing appreciation for his crazy aunt's ways, and the entire town's admiration and respect for an outsider who, without even speaking the same language, wins the hearts of all, is a funny, uplifting story.
Julia Alvarez is the author of many award-winning novels, including How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents and In the Time of the Butterflies, and the picture book The Secret Footprints. She writes with a warmth and humor that crosses all boundaries. (Ages 9 to 12) --Emilie Coulter
From Publishers Weekly
Alvarez (The Secret Footprints; How the Garc¡a Girls Lost Their Accents) creates a story that is alternately affecting and treacly, starring nine-year-old Miguel (who soon turns 10) and his younger sister, Juanita, as they attempt to adjust after their move from New York City to Vermont. T¡a Lola, their vivacious aunt, comes to visit from the Dominican Republic to help out their newly divorced mother. With her brightly patterned dresses and constantly shifting beauty mark, T¡a Lola is portrayed as both wise and childlike as she schemes to make everyone jolly. Miguel struggles with his parents' divorce and with schoolmates who can't pronounce his name and assume he will be a standout baseball player because of his roots. T¡a Lola, as surrogate parent, fixes everything with a "magic" touch that inspires great food, celebrations and gift giving. Alvarez carefully translates Lola's Spanish until near the end when, after first refusing to speak English and then speaking in whole borrowed phrases, she becomes quite adept at the second language. She cleverly names Miguel's baseball team, Charlie's Boys (after the disgruntled landlord, Colonel Charlebois), and then tells a perfectly constructed story in English. As likable as T¡a Lola is, some readers may have trouble believing her quick transformation. In addition, Miguel's long-distance father appears more involved in the boy's life than his own mother (with whom Miguel lives); the mother's character is never fully developed. Ages 9-12.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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