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.
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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.