Thursday, November 17, 2005

Where Fireflies Dance / Ahí, donde bailan las luciérnagas

Title: Where Fireflies Dance / Ahí, donde bailan las luciérnagas
Author: Lucha Corpi
Illustrator: Mira Reisberg
Publisher: Children's Book Press

Lucha Corpi's first book for children is a warm trip back to her own childhood memories of the tropical town of Jaltipán, Mexico. Where the Fireflies Dance is the story of young Lucha and her brother Victor told in the style of a Mexican grandmother telling stories by the fire. The story begins with Lucha and Victor braving a haunted house where the ghost of Juan Sebastián, once a soldier in Emiliano Zapata's army, is said to roam. The story tells of the children's love for music, of standing outside a cantina and saving their quarters just to be able to hear the music coming from the marvelous jukebox. They listen to their father sing corridos, boleros and other music every night, listen to their grandmother's stories and learn of destiny.

The story is charming and very family oriented. These are happy children secure and warm in the love of their family. It made me smile because while Lucha and Victor were very obedient, they also seemed to be just the tiniest bit traviesos. I've always had a special soft spot in my heart for traviesos. The illustrations are colorful and bright, complimenting the story beautifully. They have a texture to them that makes me think of a collage or a brightly colored piñata.

I love books like this one, where the writing and the illustrations enhance each other so much so that you can hear the music, smell the air and feel the ghost of Juan Sebastián riding by on his horse to follow his destiny. It is evocative and heady - more of an experience than a read. ¿Qué padre, no? Read it in the warmth of the cocina with something delicious on the stove and your family all around you. Read it out loud and savor each word of the story, each color of the paintings as you would good chocolate y pan dulce.

Hasta pronto,

Gina MarySol Ruiz

1 comment:

msedano said...

lucha corpi has written some memorable moments. the opening of eulogy for a brown angel for instance, shows a truly perverse imagination, and, perhaps, a personal agenda. now she writes a children's book, autobiographical. i'm gonna have to read this one, see if there's any spark of a hint as to the provenance of some of the adult writer's imaginings.