3 out of 4 stars
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Bucabella by David Colasante is a children’s fiction/fantasy book of a story about a young girl who travels a long distance with her bird friends on a mission to help the poor and needy in Brazil.
Bucabella is the name of a beautiful and magical island created by the mythical god Zeus. The people on this island experience peace and harmony, untouched by wars, arguments, and crime. The Buchagolata family has been the island’s protector for many thousands of years. Mr. Buchagolata’s daughter, Valentina is called Miss B. She is encouraged to travel throughout the world by her father. Miss B wants to bring joy and happiness to children of the world. She plans a very long trip to Brazil. Her way to travel will be by flying on a seagull, Winston. You might ask how is that possible? That is part of the magic of the people of Bucabella. Other seagulls, Mario and Martin accompany Miss B and Winston to help with direction, flight, and protection. These two birds like to play pranks and do so during the long flight.
Miss B and the seagulls met and became close friends with many other birds along the way. One can learn more about birds through the seagulls: Dante, Nova, and Ashley. You will need to read the book to find out what actually happened when they all finally arrived in Brazil. How did Miss B help the children in Brazil?
During the flight, one of the shelters that Miss B and the birds found was called an “atoll.” I liked best how an atoll was described and explained in the book. This was very educational and interesting. I liked the big and colorful comic book style of illustrations by Brandon Palas spread throughout the book and on the book’s cover.
I did not like the mundane details of Miss B and the birds flying, finding a place to rest, setting up camp, eating, sleeping, and then continue flying day in and day out. I found that I wanted them to get to their destination where I hoped something would happen. I least liked that the author did not take full advantage of describing the places and countries that Miss B and the birds went to on their way to Brazil. A few animals and many different kinds of birds were mentioned along the way. I would have loved to learn about famous landmarks or customs of the people in different countries. I think a map would have been helpful to see the trip’s route, as the author mentioned specific cities in New Guinea, Australia, and Brazil.
Though the book has so much potential on being a very creative way to teach about other countries and people, it falls short of doing that. Therefore, I rate Bucabella 3 out of 4 stars. I did not give it a 2 out of 4 stars because the book was written well, and the birds were characterized well. It also has a bit of fantasy and mystery to the story making it worth a rating of 3 out of 4 stars. I would have gladly given the book a 4 out of 4 stars if it had included more interesting things during the long trip to Brazil.
Young children, who are interested in birds and stories of flying, may like this book the most. Parents may also like this book to read to their young children. Older children and adults may like this book the least because it lacks a lot of human interaction and details of the countries visited by Miss B and the birds.
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