Elizabeth Varadan | The Children’s Book Review | March 22, 2014
Written by Anna Witte, Illustrated by Micha Archer, Narrated by The Amador Family
Age Range: 5-8
Paperback: 32 pages
Publisher: Barefoot Books (September 1, 2011)
What to Expect: Spanish Culture, Flamenco Dancing, Sibling Rivalry, Self-Discovery, Special Birthdays
Lola’s family lives in an apartment building called The Park. Lola admires and envies her older sister, Clementina: Clementina has artistic talent, good looks, beautiful hair, and her own room. Lola wishes she could be just like her.
One day, Lola finds a pair of shoes in her mother’s closet and everything changes. Her mother will only say the shoes are for dancing, not walking. But Lola queries her father and learns her mother was once a flamenco dancer. Her father was, too. Lola talks him into teaching her the dance. “Just your wrists,” says Papi. “Your hands should move like the wings of birds.” She wants it to be a surprise for her mother’s birthday. They practice secretly on the rooftop, when her mother and Clementina go shopping.
Recurring phrases give a reader the feel of the dance: “Toca toca TICA, toca toca TICA. Snap! Snap! Tap! Tap!” The author has many poetic images to convey what Lola is discovering about Flamenco. Spanish words are sprinkled throughout the text, and there is a short glossary of terms at the end, along with a brief history of Flamenco dancing. (Fandango is just one of many Flamenco rhythms.)
The bright, colorful illustrations have a “collage feel and capture the upbeat energy of this story and the rhythm of the dance. A CD provides narration accompanied by music and clapping. This is a charming book in so many ways, and definitely fun for a family to enjoy together. It will appeal to readers ages 5 to 8, who like stories about Spanish culture, stories about sisters, and surprising revelations about parents.
Add this book to your collection: Lola’s Fandango
About the Author
Anna Witte was born in Germany and grew up in Spain before moving to America where she has lived for the last eighteen years. She has also written and illustrated The Parrot Tico Tango for Barefoot Books. Micha Archer has always loved the way words and pictures go together. Her illustrations are created using gouache, watercolor, pen and ink, and collage. She is influenced by her travels in West Africa, Mexico and Central America. Micha lives in Massachusetts with her family. She has also illustrated The Wise Fool for Barefoot Books.
About the Illustrator
Micha Archer is an artist, illustrator and educator living in Western Massachusetts.A world traveller, her sense of colour and pattern is influenced by the folk art, crafts, and architecture of India, Nepal, West Africa, and Mexico, among other countries. Working with gouache, watercolours, pen and ink, and collage, she creates layered pieces from various materials on paper and digitally. With a B.A. in Multicultural Education from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst she taught for 15 years in a Kindergarten classroom. In addition to consulting with teachers on incorporating art into their classrooms, she offers workshops and classes to children, adults and other artists. Her design and illustration clients include; the Massachusetts Department of Parks and Recreation, Liberty Bottles, A series of book covers for Interlink Publishing, Cricket Magazine, McGraw Hill, Hartcourt, Scholastic, Pearson-Scott Foresman and two children’s books with Barefoot Books; Lola’s Fandango and The Wise Fool.
Lola’s Fandango, by Ann White, was reviewed by Elizabeth Varadan.