Dial. Aug. 2023. 320p. Tr $24.99. ISBN 9780593462287. pap. $14.99. ISBN 9780593462294.
Gr 5-8–In 1977, young Pedro Martín is preparing, alongside his eight siblings and parents, to embark on a road trip from California to Mexico to help his abuelito take care of an important task before bringing him back to the U.S. to live with them. Martín’s memoir is an unpredictable fusion of humorous and reflective moments in his early life that gives fascinating insights into his family’s many stories while hinting at larger cultural questions and histories. Although Martín’s siblings and parents are ever-present, the heart of the story surrounds Martín’s abuelito and their distanced but invested relationship. The story’s art is vibrant, with a retro palette comprised of golds, teals, and oranges with bursts of rainbow-inspired colors in scenes featuring Mexico. Martín plays with the art styles, mixing his lined illustrations with pixel dot art for depicting heroic, largely dramatized family stories and a softer, khaki-tinted style to depict moments from his father and grandfather’s past. The Spanish language is regularly featured and is conveyed in multiple ways: directly without translation, directly with footnote translations, and representationally via punctuation. Most characters are Mexican or Mexican American; a U.S. Border Patrol agent appears to be white. Back matter includes photos of Martín’s family, as well as answers to frequently asked questions.
VERDICT An always entertaining story about the trials and joys of family. Recommended.

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