What Are You Doing?

By Elisa Amado • Illustrated by Manuel Monroy
Groundwood Books • 2011 • 32 pages
Hardcover ($16.95)
ISBN: 978-1-55498-070-3
Ages 3-7

Not very eager to go on his first day of school, Chepito runs out of the house as his mother reminds him to be back in time. During his walk around the neighborhood, Chepito encounters several people reading various kinds of printed media: a man is reading a newspaper; a girl is reading a comic book; a couple is reading a guidebook; a young woman is reading a magazine; he even encounters an archeologist reading a stela of Mayan hieroglyphics. Chepito continuously asks, “Why, why, why?” and receives an interesting response from each person. By the time he gets to school, he is eager to hear his teacher read a book to him. Chepito takes the book home and “reads” it to his little sister by looking at the pictures, much to the little one’s delight.

Read Related: Welcome to My Neighborhood! A Barrio ABC

The message is that reading is fun, and a very important skill to learn. The book’s use of repetition is wonderful for younger readers, and award-winning illustrator Manuel Monroy includes interesting details in his work, such as a crucifix on a mantel and a picture of the Virgin Mary on the wall of Chepito’s home.

Reviewed by Dr. Veronica Covington, School of Information, University of Texas, Austin