Saturday 10 December 2016

Rosita and the Night of the Radishes

Written and illustrated by Dorothy Thurgood Manning
33 Loretta Kids Books 2016
Reviewed copy kindly provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Back of book:
Young Rosita competes in Oaxaca, Mexico's radish carving contest which is held every December 23rd. She hopes to win first prize and use the money to help her family's failing farm. This tale of magic realism is geared for children ages 3 to 8.

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The Story:
Life is hard for Rosita's family. The crops aren't selling at the market and her tired parents wish they had more than one child so the farming chores could be shared out. As for Rosita? Well, she's a lonely little girl tending to the strawberry plants by herself, wishing she could be at the market helping her parents. 

Nothing like a bleak beginning to suck readers right in! The opening pages gently tug the heart strings and you can't help but wonder what's in store for Rosita's poor family. 

Maybe there'll be some luck and Rosita will win a prize at the  annual 'Night of the Radishes' contest?

Rosita and the Night of the Radishes
 While tending to the farm one day, Rosita saves a bird  from being eaten by her cat and with this act of kindness, the story becomes magical. Grateful for being rescued, the little bird thanks Rosita  by giving her three magic radish seeds.

If you're like me, 'Jack and the Beanstalk' has probably popped into your mind right now....and this book certainly fits into the Fairy Tale genre.

Rosita's seeds quickly grow into strong, healthy radishes. Spying them on her farm, her pesky neighbour tries to steal them and then taunts Rosita telling her that her radishes will probably wilt and die anyway, like everything else on her farm. Feeling hurt, Rosita decides she will carve out three pretend sisters and bring them along to La Noche de los RĂ¡banos
Unfortunately, Rosita's three lovely muchachas  don't earn the prize. As the festival fireworks light up the sky, Rosita cries in disappointment, wondering how her rancho can be saved without the prize money. But through glistening tears, she notices something strange happening and a miracle unfolds.I'm not going to give the whole story'll have to read it yourself!

A magical ending means that at last, Rosita and her family can celebrate Christmas or Three Kings Day without any worries, this year or the next.

The story of Rosita has many of the ingredients of a good fairy tale- a talking animal, magical elements, a problem that needs to be resolved, good & bad characters,  triumph of the poor & a happy ending.

Beautifully illustrated, each page is filled with rich colour and lovely details. Peppered with Spanish words, the book includes a glossary at the back. There is also information about the annual radishes contest, it's history and a nice selection of photographs from the competition.

I shared this story with my 9 year old niece who loved it and said it was 'like a fairy tale I never heard before.' 

If you're looking for a magical tale, 'Rosita and the Night of the Radishes' is a charming story to share. 


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