FICTION

My Tata's Remedies/Los remedios de mi Tata

illus. by Antonio Castro L. 40p. Cinco Puntos. 2015. Tr $17.95. ISBN 9781935955917; pap. $8.95. ISBN 9781935955894.
COPY ISBN
BLGr 2–4—A boy learns about making and applying herbal remedies from his grandfather, Tata, in this warm portrait of a loving Latino family. While Aaron spends the day at his grandparents' home, various neighbors drop by and ask for help with small ailments and injuries—a bee sting, itchy feet, an eye infection. Tata treats each one with an herbal tea, poultice, wrap or other application, then repeats the comforting Spanish refrain "Sana, sana, colita de rana, si no sanas hoy, sanarás mañana." All are grateful and stay for empanadas and hot chocolate, and the story closes with Aaron expressing his gratitude for the lessons and his intention to practice making his Tata's remedies. This is a lovely intergenerational story that could have benefitted from some additional back matter about curanderas; a glossary offers definitions and pictures of each plant mentioned in the story, but there is no information about the family's cultural heritage, the origins of the remedies Tata employs, or the region where the story takes place. A disclaimer notes that readers should not take the text as medical advice; good thing, as one or two of the maladies Tata treats seem serious enough to warrant medical attention (a neighbor's burn, which the text indicates is mild but appears deep in the illustration, and a child's spiking fever). Realistic watercolor illustrations are kid-friendly but occasionally unsettling as the neighbors show up with their various ailments. Nevertheless, the bilingual text is strong, and the story will appeal to those looking for loving intergenerational relationships and Latino family traditions.
VERDICT A strong choice for larger collections or those in need of grandparent stories.

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