Reviews provided by Syndetics
Publishers Weekly Review
In her buoyant first book, Zamorano, Vivas's daughter, good-naturedly exposes a familiar quandary: the difficulty of assembling all members of a family to share a meal. The young narrator explains how his close-knit Spanish clan each day gathers around a table made by Papá to enjoy empanadas, gazpacho or paella prepared by Mamáor at least most of the brood manages to show up. Each day a different relative is too busypracticing dancing for the fiesta, telling a story, picking tomatoesto come to the table. Then it is Mamá's turn to be absent when she delivers her baby. Whether viewing this sunny, somewhat doughy-looking crew's repasts from above or below the table, Vivas's (I Went Walking; Our Granny) animated watercolors offer homely perspectives on a bustling dinner hour, when "all of us talk at once"with their hands, naturallyand abundant food is consumed with obvious gusto. Spanish phrases peppering the story are clear from their context; a brief glossary is also appended to this festive mother/daughter collaboration. Ages 4-7. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
School Library Journal Review
PreS-Gr 2This charming debut from the daughter of illustrator Julie Vivas is just right for story time. Little Antonio introduces his extended family and explains that Mamá is the biggest because "she is going to have a baby any day now." Everyday she sends the boy to gather the family for their midday meal. On Monday, Papá can't leave his busy carpentry shop. On Tuesday, his sister Alicia is learning to dance the sevillanas for the summer fiesta. Day after day, when there is an empty seat at the table that Papá built and Mamá has filled with inviting food, she sighs, "Ay, qué pena! What a pity." Eventually, it is Mamá herself who is missing because it's time for her to have baby Rosa. Children will delight in Antonio's grown-up responsibilities and enjoy the comfortable but unique predictability of the text. They will understand exactly how Antonio feels when he sighs, "Ay, qué pena!" because it's Mamá's chair that's empty. While not specified, the setting is obviously Spain and several Spanish words, primarily related to food, are interspersed. The vibrant watercolor illustrations are accentuated by a crisp white background. As in Mem Fox's Possum Magic (Harcourt, 1990) and Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge (Kane/Miller, 1985), Vivas's distinctive style is unmistakable. This is one happy, active family and the pictures exude warmth and vitality.Alicia Eames, Brooklyn Public Library (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Ages 3^-7. A menu of traditional dishes--identified in the glossary at book's end--is presented within the context of the daily lives of a large and loving Spanish family. Each day of the week, Mam serves gazpacho or empanadas or sardinas or pollo to her family when it gathers around the large table at two every afternoon. But Mama sighs, "Ay quepena! (What a pity)" each day when, for one reason or another, a family member misses the meal--Papa is busy with work on Monday, sister Alicia is learning to dance the sevillanas on Tuesday, Granny is picking tomatoes from the garden on Thursday, and so on. Then Saturday, it is Mam 's chair that's empty--she is at the hospital giving birth to baby Rosa. The following Sunday, however, the newly expanded family gathers once more to prepare and enjoy paella together. Vivas' active, affectionate characters happily help serve and share their dinners around their healthfully laden table. The jovial watercolors add zest to Zamorano's first and flavorful book. --Ellen Mandel
Horn Book Review
Each day of the week a different member of Antonio's family cannot make it home for Mam 's big meal. Mam feels sad, but on Saturday, she is the one who is missing--because she had a baby the night before. Set against a white background, Vivas's detailed watercolors show expressive characters. The story takes place in Spain and the text is sprinkled with Spanish words, but the experience is a universal one. Glos. From HORN BOOK 1997, (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Kirkus Book Review
In a winning celebration of the many loving circles of relationships in an extended family, newcomer Zamorano and veteran Vivas have collaborated on a snapshot of two weeks in the lives of a large Spanish clan. Antonio, the narrator, is the smallest, and ``Mamá is the biggest. She is going to have a baby any day now.'' Every day at two o'clock, the family gathers at the big wooden table in the kitchen for a meal: ``When we are all at the table Mamá is happy.'' On Monday, one of the seven chairs is empty because Pap must work. ``Ay, qué pena,'' sighs their mother. ``What a pity.'' A different person is absent each subsequent day. On Saturday, the missing person is Mamá, who has gone to the hospital to have a baby girl. It is Antonio's turn to sigh at the empty chair: ``Ay, qué pena!'' Two weeks later they're all together again, and Mamá sighs, ``Qué maravilla! How wonderful that everyone is eating together!'' Set in the author's native Spain, there is an effortless use of Spanish words and phrases (a glossary is included) throughout this enveloping and big-hearted book. Vivas's handsome, stylized watercolors make use of rounded forms- -bowls, table, Mama's belly, and, finally, the small head of Rosa, the new baby--to convey the warmth of the family circle. Qué maravilla, indeed. (Picture book. 4-7)