El de-sastre perfecto

Gr 3—4—In this lesson about turning life's lemons into lemonade, two long-warring nations agree to a truce. As a first step of goodwill, each country will participate in a military parade. A new start calls for crisp uniforms, so the generals go off to put in orders for their regalia. In one of the countries, the best tailor is swamped, but he concedes to the request, given the precariousness of the cease-fire. The "disaster" of the title plays on the word for tailor in Spanish, "sastre." He receives the wrong shipment of cloth too close to the parade date to reorder the goods. The yards of a tropical-patterned fabric are unsuitable for military garb, but the man gave his word on the delivery. He plunges ahead, and although the generals protest, they sport the untraditional outfits, brightly illustrated in contrast to the other, subdued tones. The female president of the other country thinks the uniforms are perfect. This rollicking story teaches children about keeping promises, making do, taking risks, and, ultimately, the important role women can play in achieving peace in the world.—Gisela Norat, Agnes Scott College, Decatur, GA

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