Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews



Karla Oceanak
Illustrator:  Kendra Spanjer 
Fiction  Series
For ages 9 to 12
Bailiwick Press, 2012   ISBN: 978-1934649176

Aldo is feeling pretty pleased with himself. Halloween is not far off and he has brought home a great report card. In fact, he has got As in every subject. Except Spanish, and who cares about Spanish anyway. Aldo doesn’t. As far as Aldo is concerned English is the main language in America and therefore Spanish is not important.

   Aldo’s mother, for some reason that Aldo cannot comprehend, thinks that Spanish is important and she tells Aldo that he has to get a better grade or she will donate his Xbox to Goodwill. In the end Jack, Aldo’s best friend, offers to help Aldo learn some more Spanish. Jack has been speaking Spanish all his life and he diligently tries to help Aldo to learn enough so that he doesn’t flunk all his Spanish tests. Eventually Aldo gets fed up with being spoon fed Spanish and he loses his temper, shouting at Jack and upsetting him. Aldo fully expects that Jack will get over being angry with him, but this is not what happens at all. Jack stays angry. For days. Jack even tells Bee that he is going to trick-or-treating with some other kids and not with Aldo.

   Aldo tries to get into the spirit of Halloween and tries not to feel too bad about being best-friendless. Inspired by the science paper that he has to write about Einstein, Aldo decides to dress up as the eccentric genius for Halloween. He learns about the man as he writes his paper, and remembers that Jack’s abuelo, his Mexican grandfather, actually met Einstein. Abuelo was a scientist once upon a time and he must have been really clever if he got to meet Einstein.

   On Halloween, in spite of pouring rain, Aldo and his friends set off to trick-or-treat. They never imagine that their Halloween is going to be memorable in more ways than one. It is going to be a one-of-a-kind night that Aldo will probably never forget.

   This Aldo adventure has everything a reader could want. There is a mystery to solve, plenty of dark and stormy nights, a touch of creepiness, several big problems, and a grand adventure to wrap everything up. Readers are going to enjoy seeing how food-loving and exercise-phobic Aldo discovers that there are things in life that are more precious than trick-or-treat candy.