Colorful Mondays: A Bookmobile Spreads Hope in Honduras

Eerdmans. (Stories from Latin America). Sept. 2023. 36p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780802856166.
Gr 2-4–Every Monday, a young boy named Luis awaits the bookmobile’s arrival in his village of Villa Nuevea, Honduras. His village, like most of the country, is filled with sad stories. But the bookmobile brings happiness that Luis can share with his family and neighbors. Perhaps to keep the story light, the dark struggles of Honduran life—hunger, poverty, violence—are only vaguely alluded to. The same vagueness, unfortunately, translates to the happy parts as well. The bookmobile driver and his volunteer do a puppet show with undescribed puppets. Luis reads an unnamed book. The people are served a snack, but readers are not told what the food is. Luis writes a story of his own but shares no details. One specific detail is under-explained: the presumably made-up word chochororochochochó that is used three times. It appears to be the bookmobile driver’s word for story time, but the confusing presentation leaves the word’s actual meaning unclear. Illustrations provide no additional details. The backgrounds, especially the town at night, are striking. However, some of the human characters’ facial expressions, poses, and perspectives are awkwardly drawn. Feelings of happiness derived from the bookmobile are represented by swirling multicolor, Impressionist flourishes, which sometimes clash with the realistic depiction of people and environments. Back matter gives a brief overview of the real-life inspiration for the story, as well as information about the global charity that supports the bookmobile’s efforts. The director of this mobile library project is a co-author.
VERDICT While the real-life efforts are noble, this book is not recommended for purchase.

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