Thursday, February 12, 2009
Book: Carnavalia!: African-brazilian Folklore And Crafts
From School Library Journal
Grade 2-4-This book offers three things in one: a fictionalized account of the Brazilian carnival that takes place between Christmas and Lent, illustrations of the event, and its crafts. An afterword explains the festival in the context of Brazil's history and culture. The main part of the book explores the relationship between seven-year-old Mourrice and his nanny. She explains the significance of the carnival and the boy observes its songs, dances, and costumes. Papi's vivid, colorful illustrations, along with the overall book design, are strong points in an otherwise mediocre offering. The art reflects a number of influences, from traditional Afro-Brazilian folk art to post-modernists such as Jackson Pollack. The results are fresh and interesting. The crafts have potential, though some are too complex for young children. The text has numerous problems, including wooden characters and stilted, unrealistic dialogue. Nana in particular sounds like a combination of a tour guide and a folklore professor, and Mourrice's voice is adult in tone. However, readers will appreciate the illustrations, possibly to the extent of forgiving the poorly written text.
Lyn Miller-Lachmann, Siena College Library, Loudonville, NY
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