Milo + Niko

Lil’ Libros. Jun. 2022. 32p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781948066211. BL.
K-Gr 2–A sweet tale of friendship and imagination. Milo’s grandmother encourages Milo to go in search of adventure while the grandmother finishes up at her plant shop. The girl roams through the rows of plants and finds her way through a jungle where growling tiger awaits. Nonplussed, the girl names it Niko. What follows is a playful afternoon of exploration, sailing, and pretend. When Milo’s grandmother interrupts their fun, readers get a glimpse at Niko’s true identity. Sometimes the narrative feels stilted, but the illustrations liven up the work. The English text appears above the Spanish text. Guzman’s collagelike digital art is arresting, filled with earthy colors and bright oranges when Milo is playing with Niko. Once she enters the jungle, there is very little white space, giving readers the feeling that the bespectacled heroine has immersed herself in a very real place. Small details, like Milo leaving her grandmother notes at the counter and the shop’s hose doubling as the snake the two friends have to confront, add an extra layer of excitement. The characters’ facial expressions will elicit laughs, and the changing typeface offers great opportunities for read-alouds. Milo and her grandmother are brown and of Latinx descent.
VERDICT An entertaining romp for most bilingual picture book collections.

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