Wolf Little Lobo and his rooster sidekick Kooky Dooky are back!
Raúl the Third (Raúl Gonzalez) continues his award-winning bilingual ¡Vamos! series with ¡Vamos! Let’s Cross the Bridge. As in the first two volumes for readers age 4-7, the third bustles with cross-cultural Tex-Mex action and zany illustrations. All three books have brought Raúl the Third Pura Belpré honors.
This time around, our two protagonists are ferrying supplies for an unnamed celebration across an international bridge in Lobo’s “beautiful truck/ bonito camión”:
La Celebración is across the city in another country…At night, from high above, the two cities on either side of the bridge look like one big city. Every day, thousands of people cross from one side of the bridge to the other. They go to work, shop, and visit family and friends. They cross by car, by truck, on foot, and by skateboard.
Even Kooky’s favorite frog band, Ranita y sus Lily Pads (yes, “ranita” means “little frog”) are catching a lift in Lobo’s truck.
But there’s a huge traffic jam on the bridge. Everyone is stuck; not a car or truck is moving. “What shall we do to pass the time?” asks Kooky Dooky. Lots, it turns out! Just as is the case throughout the book, Lobo and Kooky discover that, “Everywhere they look, there is something new to see.”
Night falls. Folks get hungry. The food trucks stuck on the bridge cook up tacos, churros and more, “los bailarines folklóricos show off their dance moves,” people dance to Ranita’s tunes, and everyone tries their hand at smashing the candy-filled piñatas. Despite their being marooned on the bridge, “That night, on a bridge between two countries, La Celebración came to everyone.”
It’s a beautiful ending to a fabulous book.
¡Vamos! Let’s Cross the Bridge
Written and Illustrated by Raúl the Third
2021, Versify/Harper Collins
Awards: 2022 Pura Belpré winner; New York Times and New York Public Library Best Illustrated Children’s Book; ALA Notable Children’s Book
Reviews: Kirkus Starred Review
Read my review of vols. 1 & 2.
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Award-winning opera singer Nanette McGuinness is the translator of over 80 books and graphic novels for children and adults from French, Italian, German and Spanish into English, including the well-known Geronimo Stilton Graphic Novels. Two of her translations, Luisa: Now and Then and California Dreamin’: Cass Elliot Before the Mamas & the Papas were chosen for YALSA’s Great Graphic Novels for Teens; Luisa: Now and Then was also a 2019 Stonewall Honor Book. Recent translations include Tiki: A Very Ruff Year; Alice on the Run: One Child’s Journey Through the Rwandan Civil War; Makhno: Ukrainian Freedom Fighter; Rosa Parks; Magical History Tour: Vikings; Magical History Tour: The Plague, Bibi & Miyu#2, LGBTQ YA manga Alter Ego, and the critically acclaimed A House Without Windows.