Across the Bay
Across the Bay

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Annotation: Carlitos lives in a happy home with his mother, his abuela, and Coco the cat. Life in his hometown is cozy as can be, but the call of the capital city pulls Carlitos across the bay in search of his father.
Catalog Number: #209857
Format: Perma-Bound Edition from Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Publisher: Penguin
Copyright Date: 2019
Edition Date: 2019
Pages: 32
Availability: Available
New Title: Yes
ISBN: Publisher: 1-524-78662-4 Perma-Bound: 0-7804-7610-7
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-1-524-78662-5 Perma-Bound: 978-0-7804-7610-3
Dewey: E
Language: English
ALA Booklist
Carlitos lives with his mother and his abuela in Cataño, Puerto Rico. Though he's happy in his cozy house, his family is different because his father is gone, living somewhere across the bay in San Juan. An idea forms: he'll bring a photo of his father and take the ferry to the capital. He shows the picture to strangers, and some offer suggestions. He wanders until the only place left to look is the El Morro castle. But there's no Papi, and his photo is lost. The kind words of a park ranger offer solace: no matter the dark clouds, the sun will eventually return. Aponte does a fine job of taking on a poignant problem without overwhelming the story with sadness. Much of the heavy lifting is done by the effusive art, done in the style of mid-century artwork, with thick lines around fancifully shaped characters, including hidden gems like the cats that follow Carlitos. The lushly colored art is suffused with an animation that reminds readers that life is always moving, a good lesson for any age group.
Kirkus Reviews
Carlitos' yearning for his father takes him on a clandestine solo trip to Old San Juan, Puerto Rico, to find him.In the town of Cataño, across the titular bay from the capital, Carlitos lives with his mother, his abuela, and their cat, Coco. Carlitos' "family didn't look like the others." The neighborhood children play basketball, learn to ride a bike, or do housework with their fathers while Carlitos goes to the barbershop with only his mother. When Carlitos asks about Papi's whereabouts, his mother reassures him that his father is across the bay—that "sometimes things don't work out." Even though he is happy with his family, a desire for more sets Carlitos on a ferry with Papi's photo in hand. Vibrant illustrations with an inviting tropical palette draw readers in as Carlitos searches high and low for Papi. A refreshingly varied spectrum of brown shades of skin abounds in colorful city scenes. Wide-angle perspectives effectively emphasize emotional scale: the vastness of San Juan Bay, Carlitos' sense of his own smallness as he searches for his father in the "maze" of the old capital, and his despair at his journey's end. Aponte's decision to leave Carlitos' quest unresolved is an honest one, and readers will respond to this beautiful depiction of a young boy's physical and emotional journey within a deeply cultural setting.Shining with palpable pride for family and home. (Picture book. 3-7)
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2 Missing a father in his life, a young boy goes searching for him. Carlitos lives in the town of Cataño in Puerto Rico, a town just across the bay from the capital city of San Juan. Carlitos leads a happy life with his mother, abuela, and cat, Coco. But he doesn't like going to the barbershop, where he feels left out when he sees all of the other boys accompanied by their dads. Knowing his father lives in San Juan, the boy finds an old photo of him, grabs some money, and tiptoes out of the house and to the ferry terminal. Predictably, he doesn't find his father but instead realizes how important the family he does have is to him. Aponte's color-filled illustrations capture the vibrancy and warmth of Carlitos's environment. As the boy walks the streets of San Juan, readers familiar with the city will easily recognize it. The text, however, is inconsistent. For example, the absence of a father is explained as, "most families in Carlitos's town looked the same. His family didn't look like the others." It is also somewhat jarring when the barber greets Carlitos's mother as "Doña Carmen" but she responds with a simple "Francisco." Is she asserting social privilege? VERDICT Though not without flaws, this book with a Puerto Rican setting may be considered as a secondary purchase. Lucia Acosta, Children's Literature Specialist, Princeton, NJ
Reviewing Agencies: - Find Other Reviewed Titles
ALA Booklist (8/1/19)
Kirkus Reviews
Pura Belpre Honor
Publishers Weekly
School Library Journal (9/1/19)
Reading Level: 2.0
Interest Level: P-2
Lexile: 570L


Author-illustrator Carlos Aponte takes readers on a journey to the heart of Puerto Rico in this enchanting picture book set in Old San Juan.

"A lively and honest story about filling voids and exploring what defines a family--as well as a love letter to a childhood home."--Horn Book

Carlitos lives in a happy home with his mother, his abuela, and Coco the cat. Life in his hometown is cozy as can be, but the call of the capital city pulls Carlitos across the bay in search of his father. Jolly piragüeros, mischievous cats, and costumed musicians color this tale of love, family, and the true meaning of home.

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