La muñeca de Lucas (9788418133398) / Benji’s Doll (9788418133404) by Alicia Acosta & Luis Amavisca, illustrated by Amélie Graux. Translation by Robin Sinclair. NubeOcho, 2021.
Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 3
Genre: Realistic picture book
What did you like about the book? Lucas/Benji really wants a doll, and finally his parents get him one – a beautiful green-eyed, red-haired doll with a blue dress. He is playing with dolls in the park with his friend Jenny, when another kid, Pablo, snatches the doll and squeezes her until one of her eyes pops out. Lucas/Benji is inconsolable, and Pablo feels bad. A few days later, Pablo comes by the park again with a gift: it’s an eyepatch for Lucas’s doll. And all of the kids play pirate dolls!
This book tries to highlight the fact that both boys and girls should be able to play with dolls without being bullied, although I’m not sure that the message comes across. Pablo grabs the doll mischievously, but not as an act of bullying. An alternate message may be to respect kids’ choices of play. The art is a naive style using pencil-like textures and colors. Minimal simple text keeps the focus on the full bleed art.
Anything you didn’t like about it? I didn’t care for the artistic portrayal of the kids – they all have giant eyes and large underbites, and Lucas/Benji has giant buck teeth.
To whom would you recommend this book? Along the lines of William’s Doll (Pène du Bois) or Clive and His Babies (Spanyol), although I think these two do a better job.
Who should buy this book? Day care centers, elementary school and public libraries
Where would you shelve it ? Picture books
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: September 16, 2021