On the Way Home (9788418133220) / Una tarde súper incréible (9788418133213) by A. H. Benjamin, illustrated by Anne Vasko. Spanish translation by Luis Amavisca. NubeOcho, 2021.
Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 3
Genre: Picture book
What did you like about the book? A little girl and her grandpa are walking home one afternoon. When Grandpa tells her that they’ll be back just in time for dinner, the girl says she’s not really hungry. However, after swinging in a tree with a monkey, jumping in a puddle with an alligator, and other animal shenanigans, they arrive at home quite hungry. When the girl tells Grandma about their adventure, she assumes it’s only the girl’s flight of fancy. But then all the animals arrive to have dinner with the family.
Digital art with collage textures in bright colors complements the zany antics nicely. Young readers will enjoy trying to predict what the next animal will get the girl and her grandpa to do, and the repetitive refrain – “So we did.” / “¡Súper increíble!” – would be fun to say out loud together. Onomatopoeia enlivens the text as well. I found the depiction of the grandpa in a green fedora, pointy beard and round, black glasses charming. This would be fun for grandparents to read with their grandkids.
Anything you didn’t like about it? There are definitely stylistic differences between the English and Spanish versions, as immediately evident by the differing titles. The refrain in the English version is understated: “So we did.” In the Spanish version, it’s more festive: “¡Súper increíble!” And, is it nitpicking to point out that “alligator” does not translate to “cocodrilo”?
To whom would you recommend this book? For ages 2-5.
Who should buy this book? Day care centers and public libraries – an additional purchase.
Where would you shelve it ? Picture books/Spanish language collections
Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? No
Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: Stephanie Tournas, Robbins Library, Arlington, MA
Date of review: June 27, 2021