Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A Muddy Mess: The Latest in Latino Celebrity Children's Publishing

Celebrity writers have been dabbling in the arena of children’s literature for decades; but there have been very few Latino and Latina celebrities writing for children. You can count them all on one hand with Gloria Estefan being one of the more recent with her Noelle the Bulldog books. Today’s post brought the very latest celebrity-authored book by Latinos. Mario Lopez and his sister Marissa Lopez Wong have created a new picture book, Mud Tacos! (2009, Celebra Children's Books - A Member of Penguin Group Inc.), which follows a young Mario and his sister as they search for ingredients for real tacos and trick their stubborn older cousin into almost eating a mud taco. As can be expected, the writing is stilted, the tone is somewhere between saccharine and didactic and Maryn Roos’ cartoon-style illustrations, though quite cheerful, add little to the story. While a book by Mario Lopez is certain to have appeal, the overall package leaves much to be desired. Lopez should continue Dancing with the Stars and leave Writing for Niños to quality authors such as Yuyi Morales, Margarita Engle, Pat Mora, Maya Christina Gonzalez, Alex Sanchez, and Francisco Jimenez.

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