How to Eat a Mango

Holiday House/Neal Porter. Jul. 2024. 40p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780823453887.
PreS-Gr 2–Lyrical and poetic, this book teaches children to slow down and engage with the world around them in a more meaningful way. A child named Carmencita learns to appreciate the sweet sensations of eating a mango as she bonds with Abuelita. Carmencita complains that she doesn’t like eating mangoes while she helps her grandmother sort the ripe mangoes from a tree. “They are sticky and get stuck between my teeth!” Her grandmother gently teaches Carmencita to appreciate mangoes, guiding her to use her five senses to savor the sweet fruit. She learns to listen to the tree’s whispers in the breeze, look at the tall branches and see how the mangoes hang like baubles, smell the sweetness of the fruit, touch the soft and firm skin of the fruit, and finally taste the juicy sweetness, which evokes a colorful explosion of her family dancing and playing music. Santos’s semi-autobiographical picture book recounts the memories of picking up rancid, rotten mangoes that fell from the backyard trees from her childhood in Venezuela, before she emigrated to Canada and before she appreciated the abundance of the sweet fruit. Looking back, the mangoes evoke sublime memories of bonding with her family, culture, and Mother Earth. Perdomo’s gorgeous illustrations bring fully to life the multitude of senses one can experience from picking and eating a sweet, plump mango on a warm day with a loved one.
VERDICT A vibrant picture book that sets up a wonderful way for individual readers or an entire classroom to reflect on the natural wonders all around them.

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