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Once Around the Block

Kirkus Reviews
With this amusing trip through the streets of a Mexican-American neighborhood, readers will discover the lives, adventures, secrets, hobbies and special skills of a most varied gallery of personages.

With the skills of a master storyteller, Lozano creates in each page, in alphabetical order, a lively, one-paragraph portrait using words that start with the same initial letter of his characters' names: "B is for Benito who loves baseball, bumblebees, and big bean burritos"; "I is for Isabel who likes to stay indoors, cruise the Internet and write interesting stories"; "P is for Pablo who has won many prizes for playing the piano perfectly." (Los Otros, hermanos Toñio, Lluvia and Chuy, new to the neighborhood, haven't yet learned English.)

The author's detailed and vibrant gouache paintings are framed as pictures in an album, reflecting the festive spirit of a real Hispanic community. Crosthwaite's excellent Spanish rendition maintains the savor and rhyme of the original text and its clever wordplay, making the story enjoyable in both languages. Drawings of alphabet cubes serve as dividers between the texts. (Picture book. 4-8)
- July 15, 2009 
School Library Journal
A Mexican-American neighborhood, its residents, and daily routines are brought to life in this alphabetical story that begins with Amelia and her sister Anita and ends with Zacarías and his crazy dog Zapper the Yapper. Humorous, double-page text and vivid colors make this an ideal ABC book. The narration in English and Spanish carry the same tone and story line.

Lozano’s illustrations exude a Mexican feel and depict a vibrant and modern Hispanic community. Great for reading aloud, this book is a solid choice for building basic vocabulary skills.
- September 15, 2009 
Midwest Book Review
Written and illustrated by Jose Lozano, “Once Around the Block: Una Vuelta A La Manzana” is a creative alphabet story with a delightful Latin twist. A page is dedicated to each letter that tells a story in both English and Spanish using as many important words beginning with the featured letter as possible! The story takes the reader for a vivid stroll around the neighborhood of Latin American ethnicity. An example of a letter’s tale might be: “X is for Xochitl who plays the xylophone in the school band. Roxanne, Xochitl’s mother, invited everyone on the block for a tamale party. ‘I bet your mother uses cinnamon and nutmeg in her sweet tamales,’ Xavier told Xochitl. ‘You must have x-ray vision,’ she laughed. ‘I’ll get her to Xerox the recipe from her Old Mexico book.’” There is even a mention of Los Otros, N, LL, & CH, letters that are used in Spanish but not in English. “Give them time and soon they’ll be part of our happy block.”

“Once Around the Block” is a delightful bilingual ABC book with warm, vivid illustrations of happy faces and places.

Its charm is only exceeded by its originality.
- August 21, 2009 
Tucson Citizen
This splashy little gem is the work of one of the rising stars in the thriving Latino art scene in Los Angeles.
Once Around the Block/Una Vuelta a la Manzana written and illustrated by Jose Lozano (Cinco Puntos Press, $16.95)

In this bilingual story, the alphabet is an important part of the neighborhood. For example, Amelia argues with Anita, Benito loves bean burritos and bumblebees, and Hortencia and Herminia hover around like hummingbirds. This splashy little gem is the work of one of the rising stars in the thriving Latino art scene in Los Angeles. (Ages 5-9)
- Larry Cox, August 5, 2009  Visit Website

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