Let’s Work: Mexican Folk Art – Cynthia Weill and Bryant Boucher

 Let’s Work: Mexican Folk Art – Cynthia Weill and Bryant Boucher, Palm Weavings from Puebla by Master Artisans of Chigmecatitlan, Cinco Puntos Press, 9781947627154, 2019

Format: Hardcover

Rating:  1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 5 (not for the story but for the work of the artisans that created the miniature palm weavings in this book)

Genre: Picture Book

 What did you like about the book? This is a very simple book that basically tells young children that they can be anything they want to be. Each occupation is stated in both English and Spanish and many show both a male and female in these jobs. Here is the unique part about this book–these are not illustrations but photographs of miniature palm weaving created by master artisans in the village of Chigmecatitlan in the Mexican state of Puebla. Some information in the back of the book explains that many of these palm weavings are only a little bigger than a coin–this is very impressive when you see the details of these weavings.

 Anything you did not like about the book. As much as I completely admired the weavings, I do not feel the images would be clear enough for a young child. The text accompanying the photographs suggests a young audience and I think the weavings are a little “fuzzy” at times to be clear to a young child. However, they are truly amazing and would be wonderful to see and discuss with maybe an older child–I just feel the wonderful talent it took to create these characters would be lost (and therefore the message) on a young child.

To whom would you recommend this book? Hard to say–the text suggests a young audience but the craft suggests an older child. I have seen other “you can be what you want to be” books that might be received better by younger children. I would purchase this book for a library just to have something to show this amazing craft of the Mexican people. There is extensive history and pride in this craft and that alone is worth purchasing the book.

Who should buy this book? Public and elementary school libraries.

Where would you shelve it? I think it would almost work better in a section about Mexico. It is definitely a picture book but it is also something so important about the Mexican culture and this collection of photographs of miniature palm weavings would be great in an area with other books about Mexico.

 Should we (librarians) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Yes, for the photographs of the palm weavings, not so much the text.

 Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Kristin Guay, former youth services librarian.

Date of review: December 5, 2019


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