Dalia's Wondrous Hair/El cabello maravilloso de Dalia
Author: Laura Lacámara
Publisher: Arte Público Press
Review Copy: Final copy supplied by Publisher
Availability: On shelves now
Summary: In this whimsical bilingual picture book for children, Dalias hair, which is as tall and thick as a Cuban royal palm tree, takes on a life of its own!
Review: I was intrigued before I even opened the book. The amazing tower of hair on the cover inspired many questions in my mind. I wondered how her hair got to be that way, if it had magic powers, what Dalia would do with her hair and so much more.
The story itself also kept me wondering about many things and asking things like, "What are coontie leaves?" Fairly early in the story there were vocabulary words that had me searching for a glossary. The author's note at the end explains that many plants and animals in the story are things that are found on the island of Cuba where the author was born. The note provides a brief explanation of each of these mentioned in the story. It was fun to experience Cuba through the author's eyes.
The imaginative story kept me guessing and would be fantastic to use with students especially if you want to talk about making predictions. Dalia has a plan from the very beginning and the suspense keeps building as Dalia does things that just don't seem to make sense. Children may try to guess what she is doing and will be excited once they understand Dalia's idea. There is also a hint at the end that she may do something else next and that could be a springboard for writing about Dalia's next adventure. Students may also enjoy going back through the book and looking for all of the clues that the author snuck into the story that they may not have noticed the first time through.
The illustrations are vibrant and engaging and I had a smile on my face the whole time I was reading even when Dalia's hair gets a little on the icky side (I don't want to spoil it for you so I won't disclose the ickiness). This is a book that will be a hit during story time for sure and I look forward to sharing it with students.