________________ CM . . . . Volume XV Number 20 . . . . May 29, 2009

cover Gonzalo Grabs the Good Life.

Janice Levy. Illustrated by Bill Slavin with Esperçana Melo.
Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, 2009.
32 pp., hardcover, $17.50.
ISBN 978-0-8028-5328-8.

Subject Headings:
Wealth-Fiction. Roosters-Fiction.

Preschool-grade 3 / Ages 4-8.

Review by Suzanne Pierson.

**** /4


After Gonzalo won the lottery, he hopped off the roof and pecked don Chucho on the nose.

“I’m rich! He said. “Get another rooster. I quit!”

Having your wish granted is a common theme in literature. The modern day twist on this theme, the dream of winning the lottery and having the freedom to quit your job and do whatever you want, will be familiar to most children, even preschoolers. Like King Midas discovered, however, sometimes things don’t turn out the way you expected.

internal art

     Janice Levy’s tale takes Gonzalo through all of the steps of this familiar fairy tale. Our hero, Gonzalo the rooster, strikes it rich and leaves his humble environment on the farm for the big time in the city. He buys everything money can buy, lives the good life with his new friends, but doesn’t find the happiness he is looking for.

     When his money runs out, his new friends abandon him. Fortunately, Gonzalo meets a wise man and learns this interesting homily: When you can’t find your car keys, they’re usually in your pocket.

     The wonderfully humorous illustrations by Bill Slavin with Esperçana Melo are created with acrylics on gessoed paper. When Gonzalo leaves the farm, he packs his bag and doesn’t look back, but in the foreground you can see the farm hens wiping away their tears with their hankies.

     The story ends with a picture of Gonzalo on the roof in full voice at sun rise, the hens below looking up in apparent rapture, and the newly unemployed mouse looking very disgruntled as he packs his bags and leaves.

     The back page includes a ‘Vocabulario: Vocabulary’ that translates the Spanish terms that are used in the story, for example, don: Mister (Mr.). Taking up more that half of the back page, though, is a picture of Gonzalo sitting on the hen house roof writing out his Complaint List. Some things never change.

Highly Recommended.

Suzanne Pierson is a retired teacher-librarian, currently instructing librarianship courses at Queen’s University in Kingston, ON.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.

Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.