Review of Juana & Lucas: Big Problemas

Juana & Lucas: Big Problemas
by Juana Medina; illus. by the author
Primary, Intermediate    Candlewick    89 pp.
5/19    978-1-5362-0131-4    $14.99

This sequel to Juana & Lucas (rev. 11/16) offers welcome narrative continuity for fans of Bogotá–dwelling protagonist Juana Medina Rosas and her beloved pet dog Lucas, while skillfully balancing changes in their lives. Juana is growing up; and, while some of her favorite things remain constant — such as her “best of amigos” and ever-faithful pet; her abuela, abuelo, and joyfully mischievous cousins Cami and Pipe — a big change is looming. Her favorite person in the world, Mami, is starting to spend more time with a new “friend,” Luis. In accessible chapters with plenty of white space and interspersed art, Medina guides readers through Juana’s experiences, incorporating nuanced visual details into the drawings to help articulate Juana’s thought processes and range of emotions. Through it all, Juana can always count on her family’s steady and secure love to help solve even the biggest problemas. The result is a thriving, buoyant, confident young Juana who demonstrates that balancing new changes with old favorites is achievable and, indeed, can be done with humor and grace.

From the July/August 2019 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Lettycia Terrones

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