From School Library Journal
Kindergarten-Grade 3. When her granddaughter Lucy is sick, Mama Provi makes a big pot of arroz con pollo for her and sets off on the journey from her first-floor apartment to Lucy's eighth-floor home in the same building. On each floor, Mama Provi trades a bit of her rice with a different neighbor, receiving a new type of food each time. By the time she finally reaches Lucy, the two have a tremendous and varied feast. Mama Provi makes each trade "en un dos por tres" ("something like 'lickety-split'"), a pleasant refrain repeated throughout. Most readers will figure out where the rather wordy story is going right away, so the final meal is rather anticlimactic. Though the action of trading foods is repeated several times, the language and conversations are different enough to avoid monotony. The watercolor illustrations also add interest, offering varied perspectives of hallways, stairs, and apartments. The soft colors used for the people's clothes and food stand out nicely from the tans and off-whites in the background, reinforcing the warmth of the building's community. The foods and neighbors are almost too neatly varied in a multicultural fashion, as Se?or Rivera offers black beans; Mrs. Johnson, an African American, trades collard greens; and Mrs. Woo gives tea. The book avoids preachiness, however, by focusing on the neighborliness rather than the individuals' backgrounds. The result is a thoughtful, gentle, and satisfying story.?Steven Engelfried, West Linn Public Library, OR
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Ages 5^-8. When her granddaughter, Lucy, comes down with the chicken pox, Mama Provi cooks a big pot of arroz con pollo
, packs it in a giant shopping bag, and starts the journey from her first-floor apartment to Lucy's apartment on the eighth floor. On the second-floor landing, "a wondrous smell tickled her nose," prompting Mama Provi to barter a bowl of her chicken with rice for a chunk of Mrs. Landers' crusty bread. And so it continues: on every floor, Mama Provi dips into her pot and makes an exchange: a bit of Senor Rivera's frijoles negros
, a generous portion of Mrs. Johnson's collard greens, a pot of Mrs. Woo's tea. Roth's decorative, boldy colored watercolors make intriguing use of perspective and nicely portray Mama Provi's multicultural world. A charming debut for the author, this is a wonderful celebration of food and culture, friends and family. Lauren Peterson