Reviews

School Library Journal
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K-Gr 2-When Papa Rabbit does not return from the lettuce and carrot fields of El Norte, Pancho Rabbit sneaks off in the night to search for him. He runs into Senor Coyote, who offers to help, but demands that Pancho give him the food he is carrying. When the mole, beans, and tortillas are gone, and they have finally crossed the big wall, Coyote is about to eat Pancho when Papa and his friends come to his rescue. Animals stand in for people in this morality play about immigration, allowing readers to see the migrant's side of the story. Children will learn a bit about Mexican culture from the hand-drawn and digitally collaged folk-art-inspired illustrations depicted in warm desert colors as well as from the author's note. The stylized, flat illustrations put the story in context and set the mood. The book shows the fragility of making a living, the desperation that many migrants experience, and the deep family ties that bind the characters. Classrooms studying the migrant experience will find plenty to discuss here.-Angela J. Reynolds, Annapolis Valley Regional Library, Bridgetown, NS, Canada (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

In this pointed allegory, Pancho, a young rabbit, sets out for El Norte to find his father, who is late returning from the great carrot and lettuce fields. He falls in with a ravenous coyote who offers to guide him over the border (for a price), but when the food runs out, so does Pancho's luck. In a rather large coincidence, he's rescued from death by his Papa. Along the way, Pancho crosses a river, climbs a fence, and passes through a tunnel guarded by uniformed, bribe-taking snakes. Tonatiuh shapes his story along strong folkloric patterns, and he adds atmosphere aplenty in arresting, flat folk art with cultural references (coyote is the term for someone who smuggles people across the border). He closes with a critical, research-based author's note about who illegal immigrants are and the dangers they face, capped by a list of web reports and resources. The depiction of the border's barriers and those who patrol them may be discomfiting for some, but with so little on the topic available for younger readers, it's good to have a book that can be read at several levels. This will spark strong responses and needed discussion.--Peters, John Copyright 2010 Booklist


Publishers Weekly
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Tonatiuh (Diego Rivera: His World and Ours) uses an animal cast to create a valuable portrait of the often-perilous journeys of migrant Mexicans who seek work in the U.S. to support their families. It is time for Papa Rabbit to return home from working in "El Norte," and his family prepares a celebratory fiesta, but he fails to arrive. When Pancho goes in search of his father, he meets a coyote who agrees to guide him north. In both prose and art, Tonatiuh expertly balances folkloric elements with stark, modern realities; Pancho Rabbit's trip has the feel of a classic fable or fairy tale, with the untrustworthy coyote demanding more and more of him. As in Tonatiuh's previous books, his illustrations draw from ancient Mexican art, but he also incorporates photographic textures, from denim jeans to the zipper on Pancho's mochila (backpack), emphasizing the connection between past and present. An extensive author's note offers a useful springboard for adult-child discussion as Tonatiuh delineates the dangers undocumented immigrants face. The story's bittersweet, even ominous, ending reminds readers that there are no easy solutions. Ages 6-9. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


School Library Journal
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

K-Gr 2-Tonatiuh has brilliantly taken the very sensitive topic of illegal immigration and created an allegorical animal tale that could pass for a tale handed down through the oral tradition. The other absolutely inspired conceit is the fact that Pancho Rabbit's traveling companion is a real Coyote, which lends all sorts of relevance and irony to the story, since the often-corrupt characters who lead actual immigrants to the border for a fee are known as coyotes. And of course, once Pancho has shared all of his food with Coyote, the villain wants to eat the rabbit. The long-eared protagonist goes on to vanquish some Coyote derriere. This is a classic hero's journey, with the child, in this case, leaving home in search of a parent. The excellence of the text and the illustrations were acknowledged by the Pura Belpre committee, who named this an author and illustrator Honor book. (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.