Recorded Bks. Apr. 2023. 116p. $8.99. ISBN 9798889561583.
Gr 8 Up–So much is revealed in just the first minute: Raquel (her name being the one detail withheld a bit longer) lives in a small town where “everyone is up in each other’s business.” She’s waiting for her mother after being suspended for calling a nosy school monitor a “piece of shit.” Her parents are divorced because her father is getting remarried. She remarks that Pardalita “flew past”; the intensity of that impression caused her to write Pardalita’s name “without noticing” onto the table where she waits. That dense sparseness defines Portuguese author/artist Estrela’s absorbing on-the-page hybrid of prose, free verse, black-and-white drawings without and within graphic panels. Debut narrator Vázquez (who’s also an editor for Pardalita’s U.S. publisher, Levine Querido) is Estrela’s unhurried cipher, adroitly inserting pauses to allow listeners to absorb the multilayered details of Estrela’s reveals. Vázquez is seemingly proficient/fluent in Spanish—she pronounces jacaranda with an opening “h” sound—but isn’t necessarily a Portuguese speaker (jacaranda has a j-as-in-Jack first syllable). Textless printed pages are many, necessitating additional descriptions and prompts that still dovetail seamlessly into an affecting performance.
VERDICT Libraries with youthful audiences will want to acquire this sensitive adaptation.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing