A Sled for Gabo

Atheneum. Jan. 2021. 40p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781534445345.
PreS-Gr 1–Winter adventures await Gabo just outside the frosted glass of his kitchen window, but his socks are only cotton, his cap is too small, and he has no sled for coasting down the hills with the other kids. Some quick ingenuity from his mother amends his wardrobe, but the boy is still without a sled. A handful of visits from neighbors, relatives, and new friends show Gabo that it’s not about what he doesn’t have, but what he can do with the things he has. The concurrent conflicts of Gabo’s shyness and his hunt for a sled duel for reader attention, but Otheguy’s unhurried, lyrical approach to the story’s central problems are of a piece with the message that life is constantly presenting opportunities for happiness, if you know how to look for them. The book’s setting, a snowbound neighborhood populated by Hispanic characters who naturally shift between English and Spanish, is a unique and welcoming locale. Gonzalez’s artwork possesses a sunny palette that will put readers in mind of Karen Katz and Pat Hutchins, and the warm, pleasing note that the book ends on is sure to attract fans of that duo’s work.
VERDICT A distinct mise-en-scène paired with a toasty, traditional message distinguishes this story of snowy self-discovery.

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