Carmela full of wishes

Matt de la Peña

Book - 2018

Carmela, finally old enough to run errands with her brother, tries to think of the perfect birthday wish, while his wish seems to be that she stayed home.--

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Children's Room jE/De la Pena Due Oct 22, 2023
Children's Room jE/De la Pena Due Oct 12, 2023
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Picture books
New York, NY : G. P. Putnam's Sons [2018]
Physical Description
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 26 cm
Main Author
Matt de la Peña (author)
Other Authors
Christian Robinson (illustrator)
Review by New York Times Review

THESE FIVE new picture books are humansize stories made by human hands. The evidence: raw brush strokes, bleeding paint, pencil marks left untouched. Somehow that makes all the difference as the young characters in these stories try to find their way into the confusing adult world. The handmade artistry of these books helps to illuminate and animate children's feelings of wonder, loss and determination. THE STORY in JiHyeon Lee's wordless DOOR (Chronicle, 56 pp., $17.99; ages 4 to 8) starts on the frontispiece: A boy finds a key. A strange little insect leads him wandering among gray, drab people to a cobweb-draped door, apparently unopened for years. On the other side, they enter a land of blossoming trees, fantastical creatures, polka-dot food. The boy slowly sheds his grayness for pink, red and green. A bit Alice in Wonderland; but, truly, JiHyeon Lee, who gave us the delightful "Pool" (also wordless), is a unique and wildly imaginative talent - an original. The illustrations, in pencil, are whimsical, reserved, buoyant, childlike, expert. In a remarkable sixpage layout of doors and doors and doors, we see worlds connect and intersect as creatures enter and exit, laughing, playing, even getting married. Language (dialogue is drawn in nonsense squiggles) isn't a barrier. Neither are appearances. This land is a joyous celebration of differences and likenesses and harmony - and so is this magical book. how could you not love a deliciously pink elephant named Poe? Unfortunately, the townspeople of Prickly Valley do not. In POE WON'T GO (Disney-Hyperion, 40 pp., $17.99; ages 4 to 8), written by Kelly DiPucchio and illustrated by Zachariah OHora, a rather large elephant has plunked himself right in the middle of the only road in town. This is a delightful children's fable in the form of a humorous news story. The colorful illustrations look like retro linocut prints, while the hand-drawn text brings to life the atmosphere of panic in Prickly Valley. The townspeople try everything to get rid of Poe: They attempt to bribe him with cheese, they hire a magician to make him disappear, they tie a hundred balloons to his limbs. The mayor arrives with her committees and councils and Styrofoam cups and real-life politics. In the end, throwing everything at the problem does not solve it - a little kindness does. It comes in the shape of a small girl, Marigold. She saves the day by asking Poe why he won't go (in elephant of course). For the first time, Poe smiles. Marigold puts her ear to his forehead, listens carefully, then explains, "He's waiting for a friend." The friend is a monkey wearing a polka-dot tie. Poe tips his black fedora and leaves with the monkey on his shoulder. At the end of the story, the reader is asked, "I wonder where they'll go?" (Let's hope it is a wonderful place where animals gather in dapper getups.) CARMELA FULL OF WISHES (Putnam, 40 pp., $17.99; ages 4 to 8) is the second collaboration between the author Matt de la Peña and the illustrator Christian Robinson following the beautiful "Last Stop on Market Street," which won a Newbery Medal. In this one, it is Carmela's birthday, and, for once, she is allowed to help her big brother outside with the chores. As she push-scooters after him jingling her bracelets, they pass a flower vendor's van, a corn-on-astick (elote) stand and a Mexican bakery. We are in the streets of an immigrant neighborhood where hope and hardship mingle. It is a decoupage world, with muddy colors, sketchy details and brush stroke backgrounds: a child's painting. The visuals, like the story, have a more muted and somber tone than "Last Stop on Market Street," but it is moving in similar ways. Among the street's cement paving stones, Carmela finds a lone dandelion. Her brother tells her to make a wish. Her wishes are cleverly illustrated as papel picados, Mexican hand-cut paper banners. At first, she wishes for a machine that spits out candy. On second thought, she wishes for her father's immigration papers to be fixed (so he can, finally, come home). She wishes for her mother to be pampered like a guest at the hotel where she works. Carmela drops her dandelion, and its spores scatter. She is distraught. She imagines her wishes and hopes will be lost and destroyed. Her brother, who is mostly irritated by Carmela, shows his true colors by taking her to the shore, where the sky is filled with dandelion spores and soaring white birds. A place of abundant wishes. THE ILLUSTRATOR CORINNA LUYKEN helps bring Marcy Campbell's characters to life in ADRIAN SIMCOX DOES NOT HAVE A HORSE (Dial, 40 pp., $17.99; ages 4 to 8). Chloe is determined to prove that Adrian Simcox, the lonely daydreamer in her class, is a liar. He has been telling "anyone who will listen that he has a horse." Finally, after simmering for days, she bursts out (while hanging upside down from the monkey bars) to the whole class (including Adrian Simcox) that he does not have a horse. Adrian Simcox is devastated. The next day, Chloe's mother takes her to his house. He lives on the wrong side of the tracks with his grandparents. He plays alone in a decrepit, overgrown yard. Chloe wants to call him a liar again, but instead - she asks him about his horse. By using his imagination, Adrian Simcox comes to life and dreams of a better one. Luyken depicts nature as a wild whirlwind that eventually envelops the characters. She has a charming drawing style, but she also brings a jagged, emotional charge to the story. It is the charge of Adrian Simcox's imagination - where the horse lives. Chloe is stubborn and willful, but she listens and learns and understands. Her first-person narration is realistic, witty and endearing. Chloe wants a series. This heroine is ready for more adventures. IN LIZA JANE AND THE DRAGON (BlackSheep, 32 pp., $16.95; ages 4 to 8), a first children's book written by the novelist Laura Lippman and illustrated by Kate Samworth, Liza Jane has a not-so-unfamiliar problem: Nobody listens to her. Least of all her parents. So she fires them and puts up a wanted sign for new ones. Like Mary Poppins, a dragon answers her ad and gets the job. "Liza Jane and the Dragon" feels as if it were written in the 1970 s, and it has the colors and the clothes and, of course, the psychedelic monster to go with it. At the start, Liza Jane and her fish, Swimmer, are the only characters who are colored in. Everything and everybody else is a sepia-wash background. The dragon brings excitement - color, fire, pizza every night - but he is not "Puff." He is destructive and lazy. His only response each time he loses his temper and burns another part of the house to a charred crisp is, "Well, I'm a dragon." That's a reasonable argument. We cannot change the essential nature of people or animals - especially mythical ones. Living in an untidy, charred ruin and sick of pizza, Liza Jane gets rid of the dragon and rehires her parents (now in color, too). This enjoyable book delivers a lesson, and its playful drawings invite the young reader into a wonderful place somewhere between fantasy and reality. JUMAN MALOUF is the author and illustrator of "A Trilogy of Two."

Copyright (c) The New York Times Company [July 11, 2019] Review by Booklist Review

Carmela is excited for birthday pancakes and jingling and jangling bracelets as a gift. Best of all, she's now old enough to accompany her brother on her scooter to the laundromat, the bodega, and the locksmith. Carmela's sibling is disgruntled with her company, and he finds her noisy jewelery annoying. When she picks a dandelion that's gone to seed, he impatiently explains she should make a wish before blowing on it: Everyone knows that. While considering what to wish, the young girl holds her prize securely until there's an accident. Carmela sadly believes she's lost her chance to make things better for her family her mother is a hotel housekeeper and her father is waiting to get his papers fixed so he could finally be home. Big brother comes to the rescue by giving her the opportunity for a multitude of wishes. The acrylic paint, collage, and digitalized illustrations offer plenty of color and details to entertain children as even the youngest member of this close-knit Hispanic family does her part to improve their lives.--Maryann Owen Copyright 2018 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission. Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

It's Carmela's birthday, and she's finally old enough to accompany her big brother on his errands. On their way to the laundromat, Carmela finds a puffy white dandelion to blow. De la Peña captures with a fine ear the tone of their sibling dialogue: "Did you even make a wish?" her brother asks scornfully. With delicious inspiration, Robinson renders the wishes Carmela considers as papel picado decorations like those hung for her birthday. She wishes for a candy machine; she wishes her mother could sleep in one of the hotel beds she makes every day; she wishes her father could get his papers fixed "so he could finally be home." Carmela jingles her bracelets: "Why do you have to be so annoying?" her brother snaps. "It's a free country!" she retorts. But when she takes a tumble, crushing her dandelion, his impatience melts-"You okay?"-and they share a magical wish-making moment. The award-winning team behind Last Stop on Market Street portrays Carmela's Spanish-speaking community as a vibrant place of possibility, and Robinson's acrylic-and-cutout spreads introduce readers to street vendors, workers in the fields, and sweeping views of the sea. Sensitively conceived and exuberantly executed, Carmela's story shines. Ages 4-8. Author's and illustrator's agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Oct.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved Review by School Library Journal Review

PreS-Gr 2-Today is Carmela's birthday, the long-awaited milestone that means she may accompany her brother to town. To Carmela, this is a wonderful adventure despite the mundane nature of the trip-washing clothes at the laundromat. Naturally, her brother would rather go alone, and finds Carmela's enthusiasm exasperating. When she finds a dandelion, he stops her just before she blows the seeds away and tells her that she needs to make a wish first. The simple weed becomes a powerful talisman for the child, and she holds it tightly, helping one-handed with the laundry as she contemplates the perfect wish. Carmela's ideas about what to wish for realistically range from an endless supply of candy to, "Imagining her mom sleeping in one of those fancy hotel beds she spent all day making for fancy guests." And, "Imagining her dad getting his papers fixed so he could finally be home." Each of her dreams is cunningly portrayed as a papel picado flag. Robinson's textural cut paper and paint collages portray a busy neighborhood and make even the most prosaic settings sing with life and beauty. When a stumble causes Carmela to lose her dandelion and all the wishes that it represents, her brother comes to her aid and shows her, and readers, something truly beautiful. The ending is just open-ended enough to satisfy while leaving plenty of room for discussion. VERDICT Carmela's journey of wishing, waiting, and wanting resonates on many levels; an important addition to bookshelves everywhere.-Anna Haase Krueger, Ramsey County Library, MN © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. Review by Horn Book Review

The team behind the award-winning Last Stop on Market Street introduces young Carmela, who's delighted to spend her birthday in town running errands with her older brother. He's irked that she's underfoot but comes through when she encounters an unexpected disappointment. The commanding cut-paper-like art is full of textured brushstrokes--perfect for this look at a community short on gloss but rich in love. (c) Copyright 2019. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. Review by Kirkus Book Review

On her birthday, a young girl accompanies her brother on his errands for the first time and makes a wish, but not exactly in the way she was expecting.When readers meet 7-year-old Carmela, she is scootering past workers in fields, excited to tag along with her older brother on her birthday. It's fun for her, but it's also necessary: Their mother works in housekeeping for a fancy hotel, and their father was a day laborer who is no longer home. As they run errands, Carmela plays the annoying little sister, but when she falls off her scooter and loses a dandelion wish she was counting on, her brother takes her to a place where her wish is carried further than she could have imagined. This second de la Pea-Robinson collaboration after Last Stop on Market Street is no less powerful and beautiful. It touches on immigration, class, and loss without belaboring each. And it's full of rich details, sharp and restrained writing, and acrylic paintings that look textured enough to rise off the page. In one brilliant sequence, Mexican papel picado depicts what Carmela imagines, ending with "her dad getting his papers fixed so he could finally be home" and a cutout of a kneeling father embracing his daughter. It's a bracing page, the best in the book, and just as sublime as the text.It's another near-perfect slice of life from a duo that has found a way to spotlight underrepresented children without forgetting that they are children first. (Picture book. 3-8) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.