My Abuelita
My Abuelita
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Annotation: With great gusto, a child's grandmother performs deep knee bends, consumes a breakfast of "huevos estrellados," and practices vocal exercises before going to work as a storyteller.
Catalog Number: #4475712
Format: Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
Copyright Date: 2009
Edition Date: 2009
Illustrator: Morales, Yuyi,, O'Meara, Tim,
Pages: 32
Availability: Available
ISBN: 0-15-216330-1
ISBN 13: 978-0-15-216330-3
Dewey: E
LCCN: 2008006872
Dimensions: 29 cm.
Language: English
Reviews:
ALA Booklist
A young boy narrates an affectionate ode to his beloved grandmother in this fanciful picture book. As day begins, Abuelita, who is round and "robust . . . like a calabaza," readies for work. Together with the boy and her cat, she stretches and eats "huevos estrellados, starry eggs." Finally, when they're dressed and the jalopy is packed, they set off for Abuelita's storytime, where she captivates an audience with words "as wild as blossoms blooming." The book lacks a glossary and pronunciation guide, but the many Spanish terms are well defined within the boy's engaging and poetic narrative, in which he conveys his admiration and affection for his appealingly peppy grandmother. Some of the verbal imagery may be a bit esoteric for younger or more literal readers, but the eye-catching, mixed-media illustrations, sparked with bright patterns, textures, and color, will help reinforce the meaning in the words. A charming tribute to family and the joys and inspiration that storytelling can bring.
Horn Book
A boy describes his abuelita's daily routine as she prepares for work. The confusing but lyrical text, deftly incorporating some Spanish words, leads to the story's big reveal: Abuelita is a storyteller. Aptly, Johnston's wordplay provides opportunities for storytellers as a lively read-aloud. Morales's unique mixed-media illustrations (clay, wire, wood, acrylic, etc.) were photographed and computer manipulated.
Kirkus Reviews
A Mexican-flavored story of a small child who lives with a lovely and extravagant grandmother. He calls her "Abuelita," the affectionate word that Spanish-speaking children and children of Hispanic origin use to name their grandmas. The attentive child expresses a genuine admiration for his Abuelita's job, describing her daily rituals to get ready to work: The child and Abuelita's cat (Frida Kahlo) follow her while she takes a shower, prepares breakfast, exercises her voice and dons (after a reminder) a special gown. Then, after besitos for Frida Kahlo, they leave in an old car, a " carcacha ," full of the unusual objects she needs to perform her work: a sun, a moon, a skeleton, a king and a queen. The digital photographs of Morales's unique polymer-clay sculptures, surrounded by elements and colors distinctive of traditional Mexican crafts, create a surrealistic atmosphere that transforms the locations where this story take place—a humble home and a school—into fantastic places. Children and adults, especially those who love listening and telling stories, will be thrilled to discover Abuelita's enchanting profession. (Picture book. 3-7)
Publishers Weekly

Morales (Just in Case), winner of this year's Pura Belpré Award, does some wonderful work with handmade puppets and digitally enhanced photography. In fact, the images are so vivid that Johnston's (Voice from Afar: Poems of Peace) text is almost superfluous. The story follows the boy narrator as he helps his adored grandmother, a professional storyteller, get ready for a performance at a local school. Johnston conjures up a senior citizen of enormous creativity and indomitable spirit—Abuelita exercises her voice with “deep, boggy, froggy notes” and wraps herself in a striped towel that makes her look and hum like “a great big bee.” But Morales is already conveying all that through her impishly expressive puppets (in a scene where the rotund grandmother describes herself as being round “like a calabaza,” her reflection in the mirror envisions her as a pumpkin), unpredictable perspectives (including a bird's-eye view of a bathroom) and a glowing palette drawn from Mexican folk art. The vignettes seamlessly knit together realism and fantasy, giving every spread a dreamy physicality. Ages 3–7. (Sept.)

School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 1 A boy describes the morning routine he shares with his grandmother as she prepares for work. Flights of fancy enliven the tasks of bathing, eating breakfast, and dressing. When the pair arrive at her workplace, readers discover that Abuelita is a storytellera calling that her grandson shares. Spanish words are sprinkled throughout, often followed by brief definitions. For example, the boy says, "I live with my grandmaI call her Abuelita." Johnston effectively engages young readers' interest by mentioning the woman's work, but not revealing what she does until the final page. Morales's bold, innovative illustrations brilliantly reinforce the text. On one spread, Johnston writes that Abuelita is "robustlike a calabaza . A pumpkin." On the left, children see a cheerful, round person, while a mirror on the right shows a pumpkin with Abuelita's smiling face. The illustrations represent a fresh new direction for Morales. Characters molded from polymer clay are dressed in brightly patterned fabrics and placed among images that evoke Mexican art. Abuelita's mirror is framed by traditional metalwork, and her storytelling props include a winged serpent and a Day of the Dead skeleton. While the story is firmly placed in a Mexican context, children of all ethnic and racial backgrounds will be drawn to the eye-catching illustrations and the universal story of a loving intergenerational relationship. Mary Landrum, Lexington Public Library, KY
Word Count: 782
Reading Level: 2.6
Interest Level: P-2
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 2.6 / points: 0.5 / quiz: 133488 / grade: Lower Grades
Reading Counts!: reading level:1.5 / points:1.0 / quiz:Q66723
Lexile: AD540L

Winner of a 2010 Pura Belpre Illustrator Honor! Abuelita's hair is the color of salt. Her face is as crinkled as a dried chile. She booms out words as wild as blossoms blooming. She stuffs her carcacha --her jalopy--with all the things she needs: a plumed snake, a castle, a skeleton, and more. Her grandson knows he has the most amazing grandmother ever--with a very important job. What does Abuelita do? With her booming voice and wonderful props, Abuelita is a storyteller. Next to being a grandmother, that may be the most important job of all. Sprinkled with Spanish and infused with love, My Abuelita is a glorious celebration of family, imagination, and the power of story.


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