Sunday, December 18, 2022

Review - Fonchito and the Moon

Fonchito and the Moon

by Mario Vargas Llosa
illustrated by Marta Chicote Juiz
Date: 2010
Publisher: Kales Press
Reading level: C
Book type: picture book
Pages: 40
Format: e-book
Source: library

Don't miss your first Mario Vargas Llosa: Fonchito and the Moon.

Fonchito falls in love for the very first time and discovers that there is nothing one cannot do for a loved one, even if what they wish for is the moon!

(synopsis from Goodreads)

Somehow, I expected more from "one of the world's greatest writers". I don't know if something was lost in translation or what. But I found this cringey more than charming, and the abrupt ending didn't help.

Fonchito is obsessed with a little girl at school. He basically objectifies her, and he wants to kiss her on the cheek because she's pretty. (At least he asks permission.) Nereida, visibly embarrassed, sets the boy an impossible condition: If he wants that kiss, he has to bring her the moon.

The rest of the story is a little bit clunky, and I'm not sure if that's down to the translation or if the story itself is just weak. Fonchito figures out a way to bring Nereida the moon. The boy gets his kiss. The end.

There's something to be said for simplicity in picture books, but this goes so far beyond simple that it doesn't really have any substance. Fonchito only wants to kiss the girl because she's beautiful. Not because she's smart or strong or clever enough to try to thwart a horny little boy with a seemingly impossible errand. (I mean... she obviously didn't really want that kiss if she made the condition that difficult to achieve.)

The illustrations are sort of cute, but the story just isn't enough. The author's adult books may be great; I don't know. But being a good writer for adults doesn't automatically mean you'll be a great writer for kids. This picture book is a perfect example of that.

Premise: 2/5
Meter: n/a
Writing: 3/5
Illustrations: 3/5
Originality: 3/5

Enjoyment: 2/5

Overall: 2.5 out of 5

Monday, December 5, 2022

Review - I Don't Care

I Don't Care

by Julie Fogliano
illustrated by Molly Idle & Juana Martinez-Neal
Date: 2022
Publisher: Neal Porter Books
Reading level: C
Book type: picture book
Pages: 40
Format: e-book
Source: library

A New York Times bestselling author and two Caldecott Honorees share their delight in the little things that set two friends apart, and the big things that bring them together.

I really don't care what you think of my hair
Or my eyes or my toes or my nose
I really don't care what you think of my boots
Or if you don't like my clothes. . .

Mostly I care that you're you and I'm me
And I care that we're us and we're we.

This rhythmic, rhyming text by award-winning author Julie Fogliano celebrates the similarities and differences between two unlikely best friends. It will be illustrated by two recent Caldecott Honorees, each depicting one of the characters, Molly Idle and Juana Martinez-Neal.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

This is a cute rhyming picture book about two friends and the things they don't and do care about. It's a great lesson in priorities and concentrating on what's truly important.

The pictures, a collaborative effort between Molly Idle and Juana Martinez-Neal, are adorable.

Recommended to those looking for simple picture books about values.

Premise: 5/5
Meter: 4/5
Writing: 4/5
Illustrations: 5/5
Originality: 4/5

Enjoyment: 5/5

Overall: 4.57 out of 5