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Under the mambo moon

by Julia Durango


Reviews

Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

*Starred Review* Poetry, music, and dance come together with visually stimulating art and an authentic presentation of diversity in Latin American cultures to make this small book stand large. In lines of simple blank verse, young Marisol tells of accompanying her father to his record store and observing the various customers who shop for the dance music they love. Papi says you can / read people's souls / by the music / they listen to; / that hearts / fly home / when the music's / just right. Marisol's narrative is illustrated in soft black and grays with elements of block print, sketch pencil, and wash that bring the store and its customers stylishly to life. As the dozen or so visitors including a professor from Andean South America who recalls a zampona (panpipe) player, a preschool teacher who loves to dance the son jaracho from Mexico's Veracruz region, and a young man from the neighborhood who chats about the bossa nova and a certain girl from Ipanema are introduced, they each get a page spread with a poem and a brightly colored pastel portrait that together vibrantly capture the movement and allure of each dance style. Back matter includes pithy descriptions of the different regions and dances evoked in the preceding poems. This lively book will delight many independent readers, dancers, and artists and provide a fun and accessible introduction to Latin American history and its lasting heritage of music and dance.--Goldsmith, Francisc. Copyright 2010 Booklist


School Library Journal
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Gr 4-7-Celebrating the diversity of Latin American music and dance, the poems in this slim yet richly layered collection present a lyrical narrative told from the perspective of Marisol, who has just celebrated her quinceanera and who is helping her father mind his music store. Readers follow the teen as she greets people and describes their specific musical inclinations with poems that vary in style, tone, and format. The illustrations create a contrast between the characters' "normal" lives and their musical lives. For example, black-and-white pencil drawings introduce the characters through Marisol's voice in simple prose poems. The individuals are described doing ordinary things: shopping, getting off the bus, skateboarding. These pages are followed by cheerful acrylic color illustrations that accompany poems showing Marisol's customers writing songs, playing various instruments, and dancing the mambo and cumbia. Each poem displays a sense of community and celebration. An author's note gives background information about the origins and influences of Latin American music and a glossary offers definitions for the more obscure music and dance terms. A sparkling addition to any library.-Rita Meade, Brooklyn Public Library, NY (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Publishers Weekly
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

In understated verse, a girl named Marisol explores the role that music plays in her Latino community, introducing the people who visit her father's music store ("Papi says you can/ read people's souls/ by the music/ they listen to"). Grainy grayscale scenes inside the store alternate with kinetic acrylic and colored-pencil tableaus, placed opposite the visitors' monologues. Mr. and Mrs. Mayer strike a sinuous tango pose ("our legs/ swivel and/ turn like/ an electric/ taffy pull"), while Liliana, with "thin shoulders slumped/ under the weight of a full backpack," comes alive when salsa dancing with Ruben: "my troubles leave me/ like a flock of twitchy birds/ flying south for the season." A vivid mingling of poetry, narrative, and art. Ages 8-11. (July) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


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