By: George Ancona
Publisher: Lothrop, Lee & Shepard, 1998
Age Level: 9-12
We meet Caren whose family makes the fireworks that the town explodes to celebrate their patron saint. At their workshop on the outskirts of town her father, uncle, and grandfather build toritos, bulls that are made of Papier-mâché and painted. Then they are covered with fireworks. Castles of fireworks are built in the town plaza and that night after the procession the fireworks light up the town as rockets are shot into the night sky exploding with color flowers of fire.
“In Tultepec, a Mexican town noted for its fireworks, Caren helps as her extended family and neighbors prepare for a fiesta honoring San Juan de Dios, their patron saint. The festival includes a parade of giant puppets painted to look like bulls and other creatures, a procession of the saint’s statue, an amusement park with rides and food and towers of fireworks, which fill the night sky with their exploding rockets and spinning lights. The book’s large format gives plenty of space for Ancona’s clear, full-color photos. Readers who have little idea of life in Mexico will learn as much from the pictures as from the words, which clearly describe the preparations for the festival. This captures the excitement of a fiesta. “