Review of ¡Vamos!: Let's Go to the Market

¡Vamos!: Let’s Go to the Market
by Raúl the Third; color by Elaine Bay
Primary    Versify/Houghton    40 pp.    g
4/19    978-1-328-55726-1    $14.99
e-book ed.  978-0-358-06340-7    $9.99

Waking up when the rooster crows is not hard to do if the day ahead includes a trip to the mercado. Rooster Kooky Dooky’s cries (“¡Vamos!”) wake up Little Lobo and his dog Bernabé. They eat breakfast (huevos rancheros con tortillas de maíz) and get ready to deliver goods to their friends in the local marketplace. As they go about their errands, Little Lobo and Bernabé cross paths with a lively array of neighbors starting their workdays. Side by side the two travel, immersed in the sights, sounds, and smells of the town’s streets and its plaza bursting with colors and activity. A few clues along the way hint at the surprise they will find when they complete their deliveries. The comics-style illustrations of anthropomorphic creatures, objects, and places are full of detail and very enjoyable to explore. The colors are largely muted so they do not compete with the many items on the riotously bustling and crowded pages; a double-page sepia spread partway through identifies Mexico City’s historic Mercado de Cuauhtémoc as the location. Since most objects are labeled in Spanish, like a visual dictionary, and cultural references (a cinema called Buñuel, Cantinflas and Frida Kahlo puppets, Chapulín Colorado dolls) are interspersed throughout the book, this simple morning walk turns into a scavenger hunt of Spanish words and Mexican cultural elements. A glossary is appended.

From the March/April 2019 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Alicia K. Long
Alicia K. Long teaches multicultural materials for children and young adults at the University of South Florida--School of Information. She also presents family literacy and bilingual programs in public libraries, and maintains the young adult collection at the academic library where she works. She is the chair of the 2018 Pura Belpré Award committee.

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