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Roberto's Trip to the Top    by John Paterson Jr., John Paterson Sr. & Renato Alarcao order for
Roberto's Trip to the Top
by John Paterson Jr.
Order:  USA  Can
Candlewick, 2009 (2009)
* *   Reviewed by Bob Walch

Featuring a sprinkling of Spanish words mixed in with the English narrative, this picture book for children four and older is set in Venezuela.

Roberto has always wanted to take the teleferico or cable car to the top of El Avila. Finally the special day has arrived, but the little boy's father has to work so his uncle will accompany him on the outing.

The child takes his camera along to snap pictures he can share with his family. After he captures the breathtaking vistas and the animals they see, disaster strikes. 'Roberto leaned over a large rock to get a better view down the mountain. Holding on to a branch, he stretched out his body and peered downward. Oh, no! Roberto lost his balance, and his camera slid out of his hand'.

Unfortunately, the boy's camera tumbles down the hillside and with it go all the wonderful photos he's taken. Although he has many wonderful memories, Roberto has no photographic record until he remembers there might be a way of salvaging the situation. You'll have to read the story to discover what the boy comes up with, but it does cap what is a very special day in Roberto's life.

A glossary at the back of the book will come in handy for those who need to translate the Spanish words and expressions the authors work into the story. Also, you don't find too many children's stories set in Caracas, Venezuela, so this book will expand your child's horizons a bit.

The only downside to the book is that the illustrations are rather generic and you'd never know, by just paging through the volume, where the story unfolds. It's too bad the illustrator could not have worked in more material that would have made the city and its famous mountain a little more identifiable.

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