Monday, August 30, 2010

The Fabulous Firework Family

The Fabulous Firework Family
James Flora ~ Harcourt, Brace & World, INC., 1955

With The Day the Cow Sneezed on the cusp of a reprint (it releases September 1) and all the amazing prints that are being shilled on his estate's Etsy page, I figured I'd better keep digging to make sure I'd covered all the Flora backlist in our collection. That said, meet one of my husband's favorite children's books. He grew up in San Antonio, where Mexican culture thrives north of the border, so the book has a special place in his heart. Utilizing loads of words in Spanish, it's the story of a family of firework makers who are commissioned to make the "very tallest, the every widest, and the very finest firework castle ever made by mortal man."

It must make more noise than thunder; more smoke than a volcano; and throw off more sparks than there are stars in heaven, to celebrate the birthday of Santiago our beloved patron saint.

An old Mexican tradition, I saw one of these castillos in San Miguel a few years back, but it wasn't quite as spectacular as the one depicted on these pages. Here, we follow Pepito, the small son in the family as he learns the trade... making the paper mache animals and skeletons, constructing the bamboo structure, and tying the fuses. But it would not be a true Flora without some flaming mishap and a botched robbery. In the end, Pepito comes of age and saves the day, in a book that is as spiritedly illustrated as it is fun to read. Flora was a madman and a genius. Any of his books I'd trade my left arm for. (Notice I said, left, not right. A girl's gotta have some shame.)

If you feel like getting a copy for your family, stay away from the 1994 reprint. Some of the original character gets lost in translation. And to see some full page spreads, head on over to the Curious Pages.

Also by:
Kangaroo for Christmas
Grandpa's Farm
Pishtosh Bullwash and Wimple
Great Green Turkey Creek Monster
Leopold the See-Through Crumbpicker
The Day the Cow Sneezed
Little Hatchy Hen
Grandpa's Witched Up Christmas
My Friend Charlie
Sherwood Walks Home
Stewed Goose


Read along on Facebook, Twitter and Etsy!

1 comment:

Sandy Fussell said...

I love the illustrations. I kept smiling at each new one!

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