Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Benjamin and The Word

Manuel Ramos

Danny Olivas sends word that crabby, hard-to-please Kirkus has given his children's book a pretty good review. The book is Benjamin and The Word/Benjamin y la palabra (Piñata Books/Arte Público; pub. date 4/30/05).

Here's the review:
"When Benjamin defeats his friend James in a game at school, James calls him a name, the 'word' of the title. While the name itself is never mentioned, Benjamin's talk with his father about his hurt feelings makes it clear that James has insulted Benjamin because his heritage is mixed: half-Russian Jew, half-Mexican. The father-son relationship and their discussions - coming only as Benjamin is ready to talk - are warm and open, and Benjamin's conclusion that he still wants James to be his friend is encouraging and believable. Dyen's illustrations feature background washes, small and large, overlain with penciled details and outlines, creating an expressive realism. A quiet look at prejudice, forgiveness and friendship. (Picture book. 6-8)"

Congrats to Mr. Olivas. He's doing some good things with his talent and passion for writing - this children's book sounds like a great project. I've already written about his call for submissions (March 14, 2005) for short stories for a planned anthology using Los Angeles as the theme and here on La Bloga you can find his essay Cuentos de Fantasma as well as a review of Daniel's current short story collection Devil Talk. ¡Ajua!

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