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The Old Man & His Door


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About the Author

Born in Fresno, California, to Mexican American parents, Gary Soto is an acclaimed poet, essayist, and fiction writer. The awards for this multitalented author are many, ranging from the US Award for International Poetry Forum to a Before Columbus Foundation American Book Award, and was nominated for a National Book Award. His other credits include fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the California Arts Council. When he is not writing, Mr. Soto serves as a volunteer English teacher at his church. He lives with his wife, Carolyn, and their daughter, Mariko, in Berkeley, California. Joe Cepeda is an illustrator and artist from Los Angeles. After completing his degree at Long Beach State University, he moved to New York and began illustrating books, including A Girl, A Boy, and a Monster Cat and The Old Man and His Door. He now lives in California with his family and is the president of the Society of Illustrators of Los Angeles.


PreS‘A playful original folktale that is sure to get laughs at story time. When an old man's wife asks him to take a pig (el puerco) to roast at a party, he thinks she means the front door (la puerta). As he lugs the heavy wooden door to the festivities, he assists various animals and people and manages to collect a hat full of honey, a goose egg, a fish, and two watermelons. When he finally arrives, his wife is not angry about the confusion because the food her husband brings makes for a fine feast, even without the pig. Cepeda's bold paintings, featuring a round old man, a feisty old lady in tennis shoes, and a smiling pink pig, are perfect for group sharing. A glossary defines Spanish words and phrases scattered throughout the text. Pair this book with stories about "Amelia Bedelia" (HarperCollins) for a story time about miscommunication.‘Denise E. Agosto, Midland County Public Library, TX

A Mexican ditty inspired this buoyant caper about an elderly man who grows "the hottest of hot chiles" and raises pigs "as plump as water balloons," but who is not very adept at listening to his wife. Leaving early for a barbecue with the neighbors, she instructs him to bring el puerco, the pig. But instead the preoccupied fellow removes la puerta from its hinges, and leaves home with a door on his back. It is a propitious mistake, since the well-intentioned man uses this item to perform several important services, among them entertaining a bawling baby and saving a drowning boy. And, as a result of his distractions, he accumulates a range of edibles that are eagerly consumed at his neighbors' feast. A fluid storyteller, Soto (Too Many Tamales) peppers this animated narrative with Spanish words, which are translated in a glossary that precedes the story. Working in an unusually warm palette of heated-up violets, rubies and greens, Cepeda (The Cat's Meow) relies on skillful use of color in broadly delineated compositions to flesh out el viejo's personality and augment the story's humor. Especially endearing are the images of one jovial, unquestionably plump pig who, thanks to the absent-minded hero, ends up being nobody's dinner. Ages 4-8. (Apr.)

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