Review: Waiting for the Biblioburro by Monica Brown


Waiting for the Biblioburro by Monica Brown, illustrated by John Parra

Inspired by a true story, this picture book shows the power of books and reading.  Ana is a small girl who lives in Colombia and adores books.  Her village is very remote though, so there is no library to go to.  Ana has just one book, given to her by her teacher, and she has read it over and over again.  Ana makes up her own stories that she tells her little brother at bedtime.  Then one day a man with two burros comes to their village.  The burros carry a library of books and he invites all of the children to select books to keep until he returns.  As she waits for the librarian to return, Ana creates her own book about him, his burros and his books.

Brown has created a book that is gentle and beautifully written.  Ana’s life is shown as loving and filled with blessings.  It will contrast vividly for American children with their own lifestyle.  Brown also focuses clearly on books and the power of reading and stories.  The story here is told clearly and warmly with sprinklings of Spanish throughout.

Parra’s illustrations have a lovely folk art feel to them.  Done in acrylics on board, they have a texture adds another dimension to the book.  The colors are bright, the storytelling portions filled with wild and amazing creatures, and the entire work makes a complete and unified package.

The entire book sings, revealing a different culture and the power of words (and librarians.)  Appropriate for ages 4-6.

Reviewed from copy received from Tricycle Press.

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