¡Vamos! Let’s Go to the Market by Raul the Third (9781328557261)
The Pura Belpré Award-winning illustrator of Lowriders in Space returns with his first picture book. Little Lobo takes his dog Bernabe along as he delivers supplies around the market to different vendors. After Kooky Dooky wakes them up in the morning, the wagon is loaded and they head into town. Everyone there has a different job and on the bustling pages, readers can take a look at what different creatures in town are doing. As Little Lobo makes his way past the various stalls, readers get to see inside them even if they don’t have a delivery that day. There are vendors of comic books, puppets, hats, herbs, food and more. At the end of the day, Lobo delivers golden laces to the final vendor and discovers that his favorite luchadore is actually there!
Told in an engaging mix of Spanish and English, the picture book also has Spanish labels for different items in the picture and English translations to Spanish sentences at the bottom of the page. The entire book invites readers to try reading English and Spanish as they explore the market. The use of a strong structure like delivering packages allows the images to be more free flowing without losing the story line.
The pace of the book is brisk and yet readers will need to linger over the illustrations and explore them fully. They have the busy nature of a Richard Scarry with a modern feel. Exploring the various animals on the page is great fun as is looking at the smaller stories being told in images only as Lobo goes through the market.
A top pick for this year, every library should have this rich and vibrant book. Appropriate for ages 4-7.
Reviewed from library copy.
Fresh-Picked Poetry: A Day at the Farmer’s Market by Michelle Schaub, illustrated by Amy Huntington (9781580895477, Amazon)
Through a series of poems, take a visit to the farmer’s market. From the early work done by farmers long before their customers are awake to the market itself, this book celebrates one of the joys of summer. There are poems about how markets transform empty parking lots, the displays of heaped produce, the friendly sharing of samples, tempting baked goods, and the feeling of community that markets bring. It’s also a collection that celebrates the food too, the freshness of the produce and the bounty that people bring home.
Schaub very successfully has captured the summer joy of farmer’s markets across the country. One can hear the bustle and busyness of the market, captured in her poetry. Throughout there is a sense of humor and immense pleasure at what the market provides beyond the food itself. The poetry has a lightness that reflects the feel of summer and sunshine.
Huntington’s illustrations are equally bright and sunny. She incorporates people of a wide variety of backgrounds and cultures in her images, making sure to fully celebrate communities in her images. She also cleverly weaves a story in her images with a loose dog who adds to the energy of the day.
A fresh and vibrant look at farmer’s markets that is perfect zest to a summer day. Appropriate for ages 6-9.
Reviewed from library copy.
The Market Bowl by Jim Averbeck
Mama Cecile taught Yoyo to make bitterleaf stew, the same stew they sold at the market. But Yoyo thought that the entire process took too long, so she took some shortcuts herself. Then she snuck her batch of stew along with them to the market. Mama Cecile warned Yoyo that they must always accept a fair price for their stew, otherwise Brother Coin, the Great Spirit of the Market, would remove his blessing from their bowl. After selling all of Mama Cecile’s stew, there was still one customer left, so Yoyo pulled out her own stew and tried to sell that. But she rejected his small offer for her stew. Thunder rolled and through the next days, no one came to their staff at the market. Now it was up to Yoyo to fix what she had done. That would take traveling to see Brother Coin in person.
Set in modern-day Cameroon, this story skillfully blends folk elements as it talks about the culture as well. The book will make a great read aloud thanks to the ease of the language used and the natural rhythm of the storytelling. It would also be a great candidate for storytelling for those reasons too.
Averbeck’s art has a strong modern edge to it. He shows the gorgeous textiles that people wear. Additionally, he uses textures and patterns to create other objects as well, such as the shanty houses and details of interior scenes.
A modern-day folk tale, this is a rich glimpse into Cameroon. The book ends with a recipe for bitterleaf stew too! Appropriate for ages 4-6.
Reviewed from copy received from Charlesbridge.