Ceci is five, and she's now old enough to stay up for her first posadas, the nine days of parties before Christmas. Not only does Ceci get to have her own posada, but she also gets to pick out her very own piñata this year. She is determined to find the most beautiful piñata in the world. As the days tick by until the first night of the posadas, Ceci waits impatiently. But once she finds her piñata it may be harder than she expected to let it go.
The artwork is incredibly striking. Ets chose the vibrant pinks, oranges, reds, and yellows to represent Mexico, and they pop against the gray and white background. The level of detail in the pencil sketch backgrounds is also striking. Everything from store signs and signposts to people in the marketplaces were drawn from Ets' time spent in Mexico. The places in the book are real places in Mexico, and the people were all based on actual people that she saw or met.
Co-author Aurora Labastida complained to Marie Hall Ets about the lack of Mexican books for children that depicted modern Mexico, not just the peasants and burros featured in books at the time. So Nine Days of Christmas was born. Labastida wrote the outline for the story and Marie Hall Ets filled in the details after two winters spent in Mexico.
More slow-paced than most picture books, it's a realistic portrayal of a little girl's thought processes. It's slow mainly because it incorporates lots of small details about life in Mexico (for this middle-class urban family in the 50's.) Some of the details seem extraneous to the actual story, but they show that beneath the cultural differences, this little Mexican girl is simply a child like anyone else. A sweet, slow story that may inspire a greater interest in Mexican culture and customs.
Review by Lauren Shearer
Lauren Shearer writes words for fun and profit. She also makes films, but everyone knows you can't make a profit doing that. Her other hobby is consistently volunteering way too much of her time. You can read more of her reviews here
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