Review of Rica Baptista: Llamas, Iguanas, and My Very Best Friend

Rica Baptista: Llamas, Iguanas, and My Very Best Friend Rica Baptista: Llamas, Iguanas, and My Very Best Friend
by Janet Costa Bates ; illus. by Gladys Jose
Primary     Candlewick    128 pp.         g
10/22     978-1-5362-1630-1     $16.99

Eight-year-old Rica (short for Frederica) Baptista desperately wants a pet. When she overhears a conversation that leads her to believe her best friend, Laini, will be moving, getting a pet feels even more urgent in order to ward off loneliness. The breezy chapter book, peppered with cartoon-style illustrations, is a fresh look at evergreen themes. Rica and Laini brainstorm ways to convince Rica’s parents that she is responsible enough to care for a pet while planning moneymaking schemes, which are supported by extended family and neighbors—with mixed results. In the end it’s an unselfish act of kindness that persuades Rica’s parents that she is ready to adopt a cat from the local shelter. The satisfying story closes with some additional happy news about Laini’s family. Rica’s first-person narration is convincing and endearing. She bounces from one grand plan to a major worry and then on to a new plan. Her mother reminds Rica that she is named after her great-great-grandfather, who emigrated from Cape Verde to the U.S. and was a businessperson and a philanthropist whose community depended on him. By the end of the book, Rica proves that she, too, is a dependable and vital member of her community.

From the November/December 2022 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing.