Wednesday, July 04, 2018

Flor and Miranda Steal the Show

36341591Torres, Jennifer. Flor and Miranda Steal the Show
June 12th 2018 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Public library copy

Flor's family runs a struggling petting zoo that travels to different carnivals around California. Her father isn't a great businessman, giving away bags of feed instead of charging $1 for them, and her mother has had to return home to take a job. Still, Flor loves the carnival circuit, so when she hears the father of a band that has been playing try to talk the owner, Mr. Barsetti, into giving the band more money and exposure and perhaps discontinuing the petting zoo, she starts to make plans. Miranda y los Reyes is a ranchera band, and Miranda is the same age as Flor. Miranda has seen Flor run out of the band's performance and is a bit irritated, but the two strike up a friendship. Flor shows "Randy" around the carnival, introduces her to booth owners, and fills her up with lots of free food. She's still intent on somehow sabotaging the band's performance to insure that the petting zoo can keep traveling. Randy has her own issues with the band, including the fact that her father is very controlling and wants to make all of the decisions. She's enjoying just hanging out with a friend and seeing what is on the other side of the stage. Flor almost succeeds in making Randy late for her show, but everything turns out okay in the end, and the girls realize that even though things might change, they still have pretty good lives.
Strengths: The carnival setting is absolutely brilliant. Think back-- when you're 12 and you get to hang out with friends at the fair without parents, it is the BEST! There is so much to do and see, food  and other stuff to buy with the babysitting money you've been saving for months. Throw in some farm animals and rides, and it's just heaven. Miranda and her brother and sister performing in a family band is also a good touch. Not everyone can become famous by singing, but there are a lot of local performers who have limited success. I like that Flor's family was struggling in a realistic way, and the story line with the pig in the petting zoo who wasn't working out was touching. A fun summer romp with a few serious issues. I really enjoyed this, but now I really want some cotton candy!
Weaknesses: I like that the trim size of the book matches Stef Soto, Taco Queen, but the print is on the slightly small side. It makes a huge difference to my readers, sad to say. Since I am not familiar with ranchera bands, I could have used a little background information on the kind of music Miranda was playing.
What I really think: Definitely adding to my list to purchase, and now really want a book set at the Iowa State Fair! Bonus points to any author who includes pork chops on a stick.
Ms. Yingling

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