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Author: Pam Munoz Ryan

Illustrator: Claudia Rueda

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Publisher: Scholastic Press, an Imprint of Scholastic Inc.,

Material: hard cover

Summary: Nacho, a rare pitacoche bird, lives in a mesquite tree at the Mission San Juan Capistrano. He is a lovely but lonely bird, and when the swallows arrive in spring, he enjoys life like he's never known it before. In the fall, his friends must fly south, and he is lonely again, uncertain that they will return. He wants to do whatever he can to assure they come back to the Mission. This is a picture book built around a Mexican legend.

Type of Reading: bedtime story, family reading, read aloud book

Recommended Age: read together: 4 to 8; read yourself: 9 to 13

Interest Level: 4 to 10

Reading Level: 4.4

Age of Child: Read with 4-year-old child.

Young Reader Reaction: Our preschooler was most enchanted by Nacho's colors and ultimate transformation. She immediately wanted a second reading.

Adult Reader Reaction: This is a beautifully illustrated and beautifully told story. The author provides some background on the story, and you, like her, wish that the story is true. Although not touted as an adoption book, there are elements of the story you can build on to expand this to an adoption story.

Pros: The story is one about love and friendship that even young children can understand. The illustrations are fabulous and keep young listener's attention while you read long narrative passages.

Cons: None.

Borrow or Buy: Buy. The story is expansive and will interest children of all ages. The tale is soothing and positive without being 'gushy.'


Educational Themes: With older children, you can expand beyond the literal story to explaining myths and oral history. For younger children, it's a story of selfless friendship.

Notes: This book is also available in Spanish.

Literary Categories: Fiction - picture book, fables and folklore, animal characters, Spanish, multicultural, adoption, friendship, bilingual

Date(s) Reviewed: November 2005

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