CM . . .
. Volume XXI Number 1. . . .September 5, 2014
A young boy named Max loves dolls, but he is afraid that others will make fun of him if he goes inside the doll boutique in his neighbourhood. One day the shop’s owner, Senor Pepe, invites Max to enter his boutique where the boy marvels at the dolls’ handmade faces, jewelry, and clothing. Sensing that he has met a kindred spirit, Senor Pepe tells Max the story of how he came to be a doll maker. Growing up as an orphan in Honduras, Pepe was taken in by a kindly seamstress and doll maker, Senora Beatriz, who taught him to sew and craft dolls. Later, Pepe’s uncle takes him to America and insists he work as a delivery person. Only when his new aunt senses Pepe’s real talents—and his love—does Pepe find a way to set up a shop as a doll maker.
While the title is misleading (Max serves more as a vehicle for this story than as an actual character), this story offers young readers a vivid picture of what it’s like to grow up poor without a family or safety net. Senora Beatriz’s kindness toward Pepe is both heartwarming and a life saver for him; in return, the adult Pepe’s reaches out to Max offering the same mentoring that was offered him.
Kay Weisman, a librarian and reviewer, now writes “Information Matters” for School Library Monthly and works as a youth librarian at West Vancouver Memorial Library.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.