Review: Tia Isa Wants a Car by Meg Medina

tia isa wants a car

Tia Isa Wants a Car by Meg Medina, illustrated by Claudio Munoz

A little girl’s Tia Isa wants to get a car in order to take the family to the beach.  She wants one that is the color of the ocean with pointy wings at the back.  But Tio Andres laughs at the idea, calling it “ridiculous.”  They don’t have much money, but head to a car dealer where they find out they need to save more.  So the little girl sets out to help.  She stacks fruit at the store, feeds people’s pets, and teaches Spanish.  She waits until her money sock is bulging full and then surprises her Tia Isa.  Immediately, they run to the car dealer where they find just the right car way in back near the fence. 

A story of family and the importance of saving money for your dreams, this book will resonate with children who are saving their money for a large purchase as well as children from families where saving money is difficult but vital.  Medina writes with lovely imagery that creates a very vivid reading experience.  Readers discover that Tia Isa smells of lemon pies from the bakery where she works, that the car dealer smells of tar, and that work boots resemble ogre shoes. 

Munoz’s illustrations depict an urban neighborhood of apartments where neighbors help one another.  There is a feeling of safety in the illustrations, offering that rare glimpse in picture books of urban life without urban decay.  The illustrations of the family have that same feeling of warmth and belonging.

Dreams, savings, waiting and helping: this book speaks to all of those and ends with a refreshing ocean breeze.  Appropriate for ages 4-6.

Reviewed from library copy.

Also reviewed by There’s a Book.

Start Saving, Henry!

Start Saving, Henry! by Nancy Carlson

Carlson’s Henry books are always inviting discussions of concepts.  In this book, Henry is faced with the task of saving his allowance to get a more expensive toy.  He had been used to just spending his money as soon as he got it, until he wanted a $30 Super Robot Dude.  So week-by-week in $5 increments he saves his money.  Of course, it’s not that easy.  He buys a comic book which sets him back.  Then he loses a library book that he has to pay for himself.  He reaches his goal in the end, but not before one more surprise changes things again!

Carlson’s ability to write a full story in very few words is remarkable.  She is concise and simple, allowing the humor of the circumstances themselves to get laughs and groans.  Her bright-colored art is done in an almost child-like style that is very friendly.  This is an ideal book to introduce saving money and sound finances to children because it is kept very simple and to the point. 

Fans of Henry will love this new book and it is sure to create new fans of the series as well.  Appropriate for ages 3-6.

Reviewed from copy received from publisher.