A Mummy in Her Backpack/Una momia en su mochila

By James Luna
Piñata Books • 2012 • 112 pages
ISBN: 978-1-55885-756-8
Trade Paperback ($9.95)
Ages 8-12

Fourth-grader Flor returns home from a family trip to Mexico, only to find a century-old mummy in her backpack. “Rafa,” born in the 19th century and now on permanent display at the mummy museum in Guanajuato, slipped into Flor’s backpack when he heard her family members talking at the museum and learned that they were from the United States, a place he had always wanted to visit. As Flor and her friend Lupita struggle to keep Rafa’s existence a secret, his presence becomes an even bigger complication once he learns that the Day of the Dead is little more than a week away—he simply can’t bear the thought of missing his favorite day of the year, when his descendants visit the museum to remember him and other ancestors. But how can two fourth-graders return a mummy, even a small one, to such a far-away locale?

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The author’s light tone and Rafa’s good humor remove any real ugh factor from the mummy concept, and Luna’s employment of the school custodian as the girls’ most important helper is a very nice touch indeed. The complete text is included in both English and Spanish (about 50 pages each), and flows smoothly in both languages. A light and breezy read for girls whose need for comfort and security may be stronger than their sense of adventure.

—Reviewed by Coop Renner, Retired Librarian