Author: Arthur Dorros
Illustrator: Raul Colon
Age Range: 4-8
Abuelo by Arthur Dorros, illustrated by Raul Colon, is a quiet picture book about the relationship between a boy and his grandfather. They live somewhere in the country, where they ride horses, camp, and encounter wildlife. Later, the boy and his parents move to the city, leaving Abuelo behind. However, the skills that Abuelo has taught the boy (such as standing his ground) come in handy in his new life, too.
Dorros blends English and Spanish words in the text, including translations for key words and phrases. Like this:
"We would ride into the clouds,
with the sky, "el cielo,"
wrapped around us."
At night, we could see forever.
"Mira", look, he would tell me,
reaching his hands to the stars."
Even after the boy moves to the city, he still includes the Spanish translations for the things that he sees, though he perhaps does this a bit less.
Colon's watercolor and colored pencil illustrations are warm and deeply textured, cast in desert palettes of browns, grays, and sage green. There's a nostalgic feel to the pictures - this is a book that could be set now or 40 years ago. My favorite illustration is that one at the end of the book. The boy rides a bike, with the shadow of his Abuelo riding alongside him. I can't describe it, but Colon captured this perfectly.
Abuelo is about family and culture, moving away and growing up. It's a book that introduces readers to a different environment, while touching on universal truths (the fear of getting lost, the need to stand up to bullies). Abuelo is well worth a look, particularly for library purchase.
Publisher: HarperCollins (@HarperChildrens)
Publication Date: April 22, 2014
Source of Book: Review copy from the publisher
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