Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Uncle Monarch and the Day of the Dead

Uncle Monarch and the Day of the Dead

Judy Goldman
Illustrator:  Rene King Moreno 
Picture Book
For ages 4 to 6
Boyds Mills Press, 2008   ISBN: 978-1590784259

One day Lupita sees something very special in the sky above her home. Quickly she runs into the house to tell her Tio, her uncle, that the monarch butterflies have arrived. As hastily as he can Tio Urbano goes out into garden to watch the butterflies. After all, "it is the best of luck to see them arrive." As they watch the tired butterflies fly about them, Lupita remembers what her Tio has always told her. That she should never harm the butterflies because they are the "souls of our dead ones" who have come to visit before the Day of the Dead.

For days Lupita and her Tio watch the butterflies. They also start to get ready for the Day of the Dead. There are so many things to do and to plan, and Lupita has a wonderful time helping her parents to decorate, to shop, to cook, and to set up the alter for the dead. And then something happens that puts a pall over the celebration.

In this very touching picture book readers will find out how a Mexican family celebrates the Day of the Dead. They will also see how the Day of the Dead helps a little girl come to terms with the loss of a family member. Readers will be able to understand that the Day of the Dead truly is "a time of fun, remembrance, and love."

Soft colored pencil drawings rendered in warm glowing colors perfectly compliment this gentle story. At the back of the book the author includes a glossary of Spanish words that are used in the book, and a description of the Day of the Dead.