by Fernando Vilela (Author, Illustrator), Daniel Hahn (Translator)
An all-too-brief snapshot of life along the river
This is a really hard book to review. It’s a snapshot of life along the Tapajós with beautiful stylized illustrations. The problem is that this book is only a snapshot. There isn’t enough background, enough story, enough anything… It’s just a few brief glimpses – a paragraph or two worth of text total at the most, when it should have been so much more. The afterwords, “About the Tapajós River” and “About the Journey” add interesting information, but it’s still not enough. This subject is worthy of a complete story and it’s just not there.
This is a book that you will read to your children (or yourself) once out of interest, shrug in disappointment at its brevity, and then move on to Google more about the Tapajós. You won’t re-read it and there’s not enough meat to make this a satisfyingly full read or even a complete story. Too bad! It has real potential and what artwork there is simply amazes and the style is very fitting for the subject.
Cauã and Inaê are a brother and sister who live in a small community along the Tapajós River in Brazil. Here, the homes are on stilts and everyone travels around by boat—even to school! When the rainy season comes, they must leave their village and relocate to higher ground for a while. But after moving this year, Cauã and Inaê realize they’ve left behind something important: their pet tortoise, Titi! Unlike turtles, tortoises can’t swim, and Cauã and Inaê are really worried. So the pair sneaks back at night on a journey along the river to rescue him. Will they be able to save Titi?
This picture book, first published in Brazil, offers kids a unique look into the lives of children who live along Brazil’s beautiful Tapajós River.