Thursday, February 1, 2018

Winter Reading 2018 Starring Carmen


Do you know anyone who has a flare for the dramatic? Perhaps someone who can entertain their family and friends with style? Then you will probably recognize a similar spirit in Carmen. She is "an actress, a singer, a dancer, and a costume designer." Everyone loves her performances - Mom, Dad, and her brother Eduardo are a loyal audience, cheering her on as she presents a new show each night. In fact, Eduardo loves the shows so much, he would love to help out on the stage.

Carmen reminds me of Fancy Nancy with her elaborate costumes - glitter, feathers, and even ninja masks find there way into the wardrobe for her various shows. And there are elaborate sets and "a few surprising twists" of plot. These are not small performances; just one show has "seventeens songs" and "twelve dance numbers." "It's exhausting, but... "That's showbiz!" says Carmen."

The story brims with personality, and the vocabulary is richly descriptive. It would seem impossible for the illustrations to capture all of Carmen's vivacity and amazing skills, but they do. Rich purples, beautiful teals, and vibrant pinks reflect her dazzling personality. Eduardo's wide-eyed young face shines with adoration when he looks at her, while she glances at him out of the corner of her eyes, too busy with her art to stop and give him attention.

Another great aspect of this book is the warm portrayal of the family. The support her parents give Carmen in her shows is wonderful, but it is her brother's admiration and love that really shines through. As her mother points out to Carmen, "He loves you, mija, even when you make him wear a lampshade on his head." And Carmen proves her own love in a delightful way.

Whether you are looking for a picture book of realistic fiction, a family story, or a book that includes Latinx cultural elements, Starring Carmen is a must. As the text says, "Carmen is a one girl SENSACION!"

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