I Remember Abuelito: A Day of the Dead Story / Yo recuerdo a Abuelito: Un cuento del Dia de los Muertos. By Janice Levy. Illustrated by Janice Levy. Spanish translation by Miguel Arisa. Unpaged. Morton Grove, IL: Albert Whitman & Co., 2007.
Share with a young girl the memories of her grandfather as she and her family celebrate the Day of the Dead (Día de los Muertos). She remembers her grandfather’s mustache and fingers, his guitar songs, favorite foods, and games of hide-and-seek. This bilingual story, told in English and Spanish from the perspective of a child, shows how in life and memory, intergenerational relationships between grandchildren and grandparents remain in the hearts of children. The relationship this girl shared with her grandfather has become a meaningful thread between generations in her budding years.
The refrain, “It’s the Day of the Dead! It’s time to celebrate!”, proclaims a variety of ways this Mexican family celebrates Abuelito. They visit market to buy reminiscent treats then cook Abuelito’s favorite foods and drink. They spread marigold petals and light candles at home and at the cemetery with the community. Fluttering on multiple pages, monarch butterflies arrive in the tradition of the spirits and memories of loved ones.
Bright borders frame vivid illustrated snapshots of family moments captured by watercolor, gouache, and colored pencil on watercolor paper. The last pages include instructions for a butterfly mobile, Mexican hot chocolate and a brief history of the Day of the Dead. Ages 4-8.
Reviewed by Charity Leonette, Special Services Coordinator, Allegheny County Library Association. This review was printed in The Journal of Intergenerational Relationships, Vo. 6(3) 2008. Available online at www.taylorandfrancisgroup.com.