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Book Review

Jose B. Gonzalez

Book Review: What Can You Do With a Rebozo?

by Carmen Tafolla (Author), Amy Cordova (Illustrator)
Ten Speed Press


The first question that might pop up for anyone reading the title of this children's book is not, "what can one do with a rebozo?" but "what is a rebozo?"  This story answers both questions and does so much more.

The author, Carmen Tafolla's biography indicates that she is "one of the most anthologized of Latina writers," and there is a reason for this.  Tafolla is a talented poet, and I'm proud to say that we included her work in Latino Boom: An Anthology of U.S. Latino Literature.  Having said that, I approached this new book the way I would any other book--judging it solely on its own merit despite the fact that Tafolla has successfully penned other children's books.  After all, many famous authors, including Latinos and Latinas have ventured into the world of children's book publishing with varied success.  I won't got into naming anyone, but it's fair to say that some have likely been published because of the name recognition rather than the merit of the work itself.  Some of these works have lacked so much imagination that LatinoStories.Com has respectfully opted not to review them.  But let me be blunt about What Can You Do With a Rebozo?: this is one of the most beautifully illustrated, most well-crafted children's books I have read in quite some time. 

I enjoyed this book so much that the first thing I did after reading it on my own was test it with my three-year old daughter, whose taste in books is so selective that before going to bed she "allows" me to read to her only from an exclusive handful of books.  She says no to 90% of our collection. As we read What Can You Do With a Rebozo?, she kept commenting on the illustrations and pointed to the rebozo on each page.  I wasn't surprised that she gave it two huge, preschool-sized thumbs up.  After all, it's not everyday that she can touch a book where the characters look so much like her sisters and other relatives and where the colors come to life.  The illustrator, Amy Cordova, is no stranger to children's books either, and her artistic skills shine in this book. And the storyline does what it's supposed to--keep a child focused and wanting more.

For those who are still curious about what a rebozo is and what can be done with one, I'm not going to spoil the pleasure.  You'll have to read the book for yourself and add this book to your collection at home or add it to the libraries of young children you know.  No doubt, they will be very grateful.


Jose B. Gonzalez is the Editor of LatinoStories.Com, the Co-Editor of Latino Boom: Anthology of U.S. Latino Literature, and an award-winning poet and educator who has been a featured speaker at various colleges and universities nationwide.


Copyright 2006 design and content by John S. Christie and Jose B. Gonzalez
Copyright 2006 Latino Boom: An Anthology of U.S. Latino Literature, Pearson Education, Inc.
Copyright 2006 Latino Fiction and the Modernist Imagination, John S. Christie


Last Updated: July 06, 2009