It’s a good sign to me when I finish a picture book and immediately start writing down questions for the author, or Googling their name to find out their biography, their motivations for writing kidlit, and titles of their other works.
So it was with “Pancho Rabbit and the Coyote,” a 2013 book written and illustrated by Duncan Tonatiuh. (I reviewed “Dear Primo,” also by Tonatiuh, last month.)
“Dear Primo” by Duncan Tonatiuh and “Same, Same but Different” by Jenny Sue Kostecki-Shaw would make great classroom books because of their focus on cultural exchange. The premise is in each is simple: two boys in different countries write each other letters comparing and contrasting various elements of their lives.
For instance, in “Dear Primo,” when Carlitos tells his cousin about riding his bicycle past dogs and cacti on his way to school in Mexico, Charlie counters with a description of a riding a subway, which “is like a long metal snake, and it travels through tunnels underground.” They go on to compare favorite snacks, games, holidays and more. Throughout the text, Carlitos’ notes are peppered with Spanish terms, like cohetes (fireworks), explained in a glossary at the back.