Archive for October 23, 2019

Juana & Lucas: Big Problemas

Written and Illustrated by Juana Medina

Juana loves her family. She lives in Bogotá, Colombia with her mother and near her grandparents and various aunts, uncles, and cousins. The story is mostly about Juana’s daily life, her relationship with her dog, Lucas, and her mother’s burgeoning romance with a man named Luis. Juana loves her life so much that she’s afraid what would happen with change. Eventually, Mami and Luis do get married and Juana finds that change is not always so bad.

The author cleverly introduces a lot of Spanish vocabulary within the text – a sort of Spanglish. She is always careful to use the English word elsewhere to aid in comprehension. Numerous illustrations – often with arrows of explanation – accompany each and every page. A great way for readers to learn Spanish words and about life in Colombia. They will find that life not so different from life in the US. Grandmother’s seamstress makes the wedding dress. Great aunt Piti makes the wedding cake. Juana, Mami, and Lucas move to the farm with Luis but still see the rest of the family often.

Recommended for a cultural unit.

  • Big problemas

    Title: Juana & Lucas: Big Problemas

  • Author/Illustrator: Juana Medina
  • Published: Candlewick Press, 2019
  • Reviewer: Sue Poduska
  • Format: Hardcover, 96 pages
  • Grade Level: PreK to 3
  • Genre: Family, Spanish Language
  • ISBN: 978-1-5362-0131-4

The Dog Who Lost His Bark

Written by Eoin Colfer
Illustrated by P.J. Lynch

The two voices in this amazing new book are a puppy and a young boy. In this way, the author gives a fairly accurate picture of what both are thinking and feeling. Dog is ripped away from his family before he is ready and delivered into an abusive family. When they literally dump him, he winds up in a shelter. Patrick takes him home. Remembering how much trouble his barking caused, he hides in the travel crate, doesn’t make a sound, and refuses to eat. Only through patience and music is Patrick able to make friends with OZ the dog. Patrick’s parents are breaking up, though they haven’t shared that information with Patrick. Oz and Patrick are able to help each other with difficult times, a theme very important to present to the reader.

Detailed pencil drawings give a face to the story, making the characters even more wonderful.

In a short time, this uplifting story already appears on many best-of lists.

  • The Dog Who Lost His BarkTitle: The Dog Who Lost His Bark
  • Author: Eoin Colfer
  • Illustrator: P.J. Lynch
  • Publisher: Candlewick Press, 2019
  • Reviewer: Sue Poduska
  • Format: Hardcover, 144 pages
  • Grade Level: 2 to 5
  • Genre: Rescue dogs, Divorce, Friendship
  • ISBN: 978-1-5362-0442-1