The Ofrenda That We Built

Chronicle. Aug. 2024. 48p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781797215624.
PreS-Gr 2–Glowing candles illuminate painted sugar skulls. Steam rises from tamales and sweet bread, mingling with the fragrance of marigolds and burning copal. In this reimagining of the well-known nursery rhyme The House That Jack Built, readers observe a brightly animated family assembling an ofrenda for Día de Muertos to celebrate the life of their beloved abuelo who has passed away. Gutiérrez’s rhythmic, cumulative story is a natural read-aloud, gathering momentum as the family snips colored paper into graceful papel picado, collects treasured mementos, and prepares their abuelo's favorite food. A few Spanish words are seamlessly woven into the narrative, intuitively deciphered by context. Zapata’s digitally rendered illustrations are warm and vibrant, mirroring the sensorial experience a traditional ofrenda offers. Comprehensive back matter contains the history of Día de Muertos, notes from the authors and illustrator on their connection to the holiday, visual instructions for readers to make their own ofrenda, and a glossary of the common ofrenda elements.
VERDICT A rich, rhythmic ode celebrating Día de Muertos, this read-aloud is recommended for all school and public library holiday collections.

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