From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.
Gr. 6-9. Half the poems are new to this expanded edition of a collection first published 15 years ago, including some great ones from Soto's adult books that speak about feeling stuck at home and growing up poor, Catholic, and Mexican American. Soto's chatty introduction about writing poetry that celebrates small, common things will appeal to both readers and writers, as will the informal questions and answers at the back of the book and the brief autobiographical notes Soto includes with each poem. There are no illustrations this time, allowing the poetry to evoke the images--from Soto's unsentimental memory of his immigrant grandfather (Inheritance ) to a search for adventure in Hitchhiking with a Friend. One of the best poems, Saturday at the Canal, captures the feelings of a teen sure that everything is happening somewhere else and dreaming of escape. --Hazel Rochman Copyright 2006 Booklist
School Library Journal
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Gr 6-10-These simple, free-verse selections skillfully capture that which is commonplace and transforms it into something mesmerizing and lovely. A first date, the embarrassment of belching root beer out of one's nose, the joy and the intricacies of the proper way to eat Mexican food, and a lost dog are just a few of the topics that Soto addresses. The 31 poems are delightful in themselves, but the poet also adds the brief reminiscence of the event or feeling that prompted him to write each one. Some are autobiographical, but more of them are only vaguely inspired by an actual event. Like Lori Carlson's Cool Salsa (Holt, 1994), these selections depict Latino characters but will resonate with readers of all ethnicities. This revised and expanded edition will delight creative-writing teachers who are looking for a book that demonstrates the genesis of a poem as well as the compelling universality of the human experience.-Heather M. Lisowski, Philip S. Miller Library, Castle Rock, CO (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.