From School Library Journal
Kindergarten-Grade 3 A picture-book adaptation of a short story first published in Philippine Magazine in 1938. In it, a father returns from a business trip to Manila with a gift of personalized sleeping mats for each member of his family. After everyone has received a mat, three remain, one for each of the couple's deceased children. Although the story has a young narrator, its overall tone is elegiac, and will speak more to adults than to youngsters. Alegre's richly colored paintings are done in a primitive, folk-art style. Family reminiscences with greater child appeal include Carmen Lomas Garza's Family Pictures/Cuadros de Familia (Children's Book Press, 1990) and Loretta Lopez's The Birthday Swap (Lee & Low, 1997), which is about a Mexican-American family. However, there are very few picture books about the Philippines available, and this one may be useful where demand warrants. Pam Gosner, formerly at Maplewood Memorial Library, NJ
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Originally a short story written more than 60 years ago, this picture book tells of a family in the Philippines awaiting the father's return. The father writes that he will be bringing each member of the family a special sleeping mat made by an artist. The anticipation builds, and finally each mat is lovingly unfolded. The last three mats, which have duller colors, are for three siblings who have died: "Do you think I'd forgotten them?" Papa asks. The tender, bittersweet story is illustrated in vibrant shades of yellow, blue, and red, adding warmth to the simple words. A good choice for talking about remembering people who have died or about family life in other cultures. Susan Dove Lempke