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Me, Frida, and the Secret of the Peacock Ring

Review

Me, Frida, and the Secret of the Peacock Ring

Being in Mexico for a whole month during her school vacation does not have any appeal to Paloma. It’s true her father was from Mexico and she does miss him, but still, she will miss out on so much back home like being with her friends and the great Fourth of July fireworks. However, her mother has been granted a great opportunity and is anxious that Paloma embraces this opportunity as a way to get to understand her father’s heritage.

"With a delightful story full of unexpected twists and turns, award-winning author Angela Cervantes gives us another book with diversity that will appeal on so many levels."

It isn’t long before Paloma is introduced to Tavo --- only the cutest boy she’s ever seen. Things are beginning to look up. The other exciting thing is that she and her mother will be staying close to Casa Azul --- the former home of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, among her dad’s favorite artists. Since Paloma doesn’t know Spanish, two children (twins) around her age, are appointed as her tutors, Gael and Lizzie Castillo. They are friendly and warm, making her feel very welcome. Unexpectedly, however, Gael leaves her with a mysterious note asking for her help after their first meeting. She is confused and then intrigued. The twins are involved in a mystery involving a missing valuable ring once owned by Frida Kahlo. Okay, perhaps this might be a good trip after all. Paloma calls on her favorite book series heroine, Lulu Pennywhistle, to inspire her through the coming adventures. 

Paloma learns more than she ever expected --- not only about the marvelous Frida Kahlo, but also the Spanish language, her own heritage, the delicious local foods and the growing kinship with new friends. There are, without question, strange things going on as she encounters a fascinating gypsy woman and a strange man in a trench coat. Things get more complicated when she learns that Gael and Lizzie’s father is in jail under suspicion of stealing Frida’s ring. This is sure not the summer she expected and it’s just fine with her.

This is a wonderful book to help introduce middle school children to Frida Kahlo and her famous husband, Diego Rivera. It is also a step into learning some basic Spanish. With a delightful story full of unexpected twists and turns, award-winning author Angela Cervantes gives us another book with diversity that will appeal on so many levels. The cover illustration by Rafael Lopez is a wonderful homage to Frida’s artwork and is absolutely perfect for Paloma’s story.

Paloma is a smart, resourceful young girl and her comments about Lulu Pennywhistle make us want to learn more about that fictional heroine. Will Paloma ever return to beautiful Mexico? What about the cutest boy ever Tavo --- theirs was an awkward ending. And of course, we are anxious to know how Gael and Lizzie get along. Perhaps Cervantes has another series in mind? 

Reviewed by Sally Tibbetts on March 26, 2018

Me, Frida, and the Secret of the Peacock Ring
by Angela Cervantes