Friday, January 6, 2012

Lola's Fandango - Officially named an Editor's Choice by Booklist

Award winner

Lola’s Fandango.

Witte, Anna (author).

 Illustrated by Micha Archer. 
Oct. 2011. 48p. Barefoot, hardcover, $16.99 (9781846861741). K-Grade 3.
REVIEW. First published August, 2011 (Booklist).

Lola lives in a small apartment with her big sister. Is Lola jealous of Clementina? Well, she does have the better name. And hair. And she can paint. Then, Lola finds something hidden in Mami’s closet: a pair of polka-dot high heels that go “toc toc” on the wooden floor. When she learns they are for flamenco (not flamingo) dancing, she insists on learning (especially since Clementina doesn’t dance), and after much pleading, Papi agrees to teach her in secret. Witte and Archer hit all the right notes here. The text dances across the pages, with “tacs” and “tocs” and “ticas” beating out the rhythm. The action, both external and internal, is visualized in the charming collage-style artwork, which can be as small as stamps or full-page extravaganzas. At heart (and it has lots of heart), this story touches on two important points: the good part of sibling rivalry, pushing a child to find her own talents; and the way the arts can create new worlds. By the book’s conclusion, a surprise party for Mami’s birthday, the small apartment is filled with friends, music, and laughter. Lola, in her new dress, twirls into the living room, tapping her way to a world of possibilities. A short history of the fandango (a type of flamenco) and a glossary are appended. A CD is included, and a Spanish-language version is also available. — Ilene Cooper

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