- Let's Work!: Mexican Folk Art Trabajos in English and Spanish by Cynthia Weill
Weill, Cynthia Let's Work!: Mexican Folk Art Trabajos in English and Spanish; illus. with photographs by Bryant Boucher. Cinco Puntos, 2019 32p Trade ed. ISBN 978-1-947627-15-4 $14.95 Reviewed from galleys R 3-7 yrs
There's always reason to celebrate when Weill returns with another double delight in her First Concepts series (Animal Talk, BCCB 10/16, etc.). The concept this time around is jobs, in a narrative that asks little listeners to consider what they want to be when they grow up. The featured folk art medium is palm weaving, as practiced by a band of credited (and photographed) artisans from Chigmecatitlan in the state of Puebla. The companion lines of English and Spanish text are minimally shaped as observations: "You can be a painter,/ Puedes ser pintor o pintora,/ a balloon seller,/ vendador o vendedora de globas," allowing listeners to consider whether that life choice would suit, or for the linguistically curious, to compare how English and Spanish languages take different approaches to expression of gender. The format is familiar to Weill fans: a selection of art work centered on a delicately bordered, candy-colored background with just the barest trace of shadow to suggest its grounding. In the case of the palm weavings, viewers cannot readily discern size and intricacy, but a brief endnote explains that "most pieces are slightly larger than a coin," and a photograph on the dust jacket displays how multiple tiny sculptures can nestle in a pair of cupped hands. "You can be so many things./ Puedes ser tantas cosas./ What work will you choose?/ ¿Cuál trabajo piensas elegir?"