Book Review of The Little Doctor/ El doctorcito
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The Children’s Book Review
Created by Juan J. Guerra
Illustrated by Victoria Castillo
Ages 5-8 | 32 Pages
Publisher: Piñata Books | ISBN-13: 978-558858466
What to Expect: English/Spanish text, Latinx culture, family relationships
The Little Doctor/ El doctorcito is a wonderful picture book that introduces readers to the struggles of a non-English speaking grandmother and her bilingual grandson. Readers meet Salvador, who takes his grandmother, Abuelita, to the doctor for a check-up. Abuelita speaks no English, and the doctor speaks no Spanish, leaving Salvador to translate between the two. The visit does not go well, the doctor rushes in and out and doesn’t listen to Abuelita, and afterward, Salvador is left dreaming of becoming a doctor who speaks BOTH English and Spanish to help his patients.
It is enjoyable to read about the caring relationship between Salvador and his Abuela and the children of immigrants will readily identify with Salvador’s role as interpreter. Salvador demonstrates great compassion as he tries to comfort the patients waiting to see the doctor. He is concerned about doing a good job translating for his grandmother and helping others as they leave the clinic. All of these are good signs that Salvador will make an excellent doctor.
In addition to showing familial relationships, Juan Guerra does a fantastic job describing cultural divides between immigrants and citizens of a country. One example Guerra provides is how Abuelita usually sees as a curandera, which is a neighborhood healer, or drinks herbal teas instead of visiting a doctor. Another feature making this book stand out is the use of both English and Spanish text to tell the story. Readers of all ages can use either Victoria Castillo’s colorful cartoon-style illustrations or the text to understand Guerra’s message fully.
The Little Doctor/El doctorcito imparts an important message to readers—it’s never too early to start thinking about the future and taking steps toward one’s dreams. This book would make an excellent addition to any library and would be a fantastic resource to help celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15- October 15).
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About the Author
JUAN J. GUERRA, a doctor specializing in obstetrics and gynecology, is a graduate of Pomona College and the University of Illinois School of Medicine. He was four years old when his family emigrated from El Salvador to Los Angeles, California. He lives and works in northern California. This is his first picture book.
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