Juan Bobo Goes to Work: A Puerto Rican Folk Tale
Marisa Montes, author
Joe Cepeda, illustrator
Pura Belpre Honor for illustration
My children love this story of silly Juan Bobo and his antics. It won a Pura Belpre Honor for illustration which means that the illustrator has Hispanic heritage (and, in this case, I believe the author does, too). And the illustrations are indeed charming: bold colors, acrylics, comic elements. The text is also nice; there are Spanish words sprinkled in, but the context and/or a restatement by another character make the meaning quite clear. There is also a glossary, complete with pronunciation guide, in the back of the book.
Juan Bobo (which means “silly John”) sets off for work each day in the hopes of bringing home money or some other reward for his labor. Each time, his mother gives him instructions for how to bring home his payment; each time, he either forgets or misapplies the instructions leading to hilarious results.
Kids will enjoy this silly tale, and it’s a nice introduction to Hispanic culture.
Recommended read aloud for preschool and up.