This book is the whole reason for Molly Week!
Molly Goes to Rio de Janeiro is the latest release in the Molly and the Magic Suitcase series. Since I’ve written about my personal connection with Shanghai in my review of Molly Goes to Shanghai and my disconnection with Sydney (nothing personal, Sydney!) prior to reading Molly Goes to Sydney, I thought it’s only fair to share my feelings about Rio de Janeiro before I jump into the review.
Rio de Janeiro, and Brazil in general, has always been a place I’ve wanted to travel to, but I haven’t. While I’m not an expert on the history and culture of Brazil, I do have some knowledge. My interest started in high school. Since then, once or twice a year something comes up that tugs at me, a little reminder that I need to make a trip happen. I start to look things up, plan, daydream, and then the price of flights for four people comes up and I retreat. For a few months.
So, I’ve been obsessed with Brazil longer than I was ever with Shanghai, but like Sydney, I’ve never been to Rio de Janeiro before.
But here it is – Brazil – tugging at me again. Based on my previous reads with the Molly and the Magic Suitcase series, I was a little bit nervous. I know this isn’t about me – it’s about the kids – but I want to go to Brazil! So with the heartache of reading about a place I’ve never been, but want to go so bad, we read Molly Goes to Rio de Janeiro. And the verdict? Read on.
A review of Molly Goes to Rio de Janeiro
Now into my third Molly and the Magic Suitcase book I can say one of the things I look forward to reading is what inspires Molly and Michael to travel where they travel. I won’t give it fully away here, but I was happy to hear it was a song this time. I played it for my kids (thanks YouTube!) and remembered how fun it is.
When we get to Rio, we meet our guide Livia and start the tour of the city. The beach is a big part of Rio. Livia tells us some of the ways these Brazilian beaches may be different from other beaches we might be familiar with already. I appreciated this detail. We learn about some of the activities, sports, music, and indigenous people. Michael gets a lesson in the Portuguese language, and the reader is reminded of previous books when he compares the local language to the Spanish he heard in Puerto Rico and Barcelona.
Good eats in Rio de Janeiro
The part that made me pause was the discussion of food. Remember when I mentioned that a couple of times a year Brazil pops up in my life and I’m pulled towards it? One of those ways was through the food. A few years ago I tried to making something different and came across the recipe for feijoada, Brazil’s national dish. It’s a stew made with beans and different meats and vegetables. It’s the kind of meal you imagine every family has their own variation of and their grandmother’s is the best. Because of the time in cooking the dish, I think of it as a dish of love. So when I saw it in the book, I started to get hungry. And then Molly and Michael tried brigadeiro, which is a dessert, and I actually had to stop and look it up. I never had it before, but it looks delicious. I wished I had the Magic Suitcase to take me into the book.
A note about the illustrations
While finishing the story I couldn’t help but fall in love with the illustrations. Yes, they’ve always been good, but in this book they’re even more special. The illustrations are more than just depictions of a building. They don’t just show what’s happening in the story. They add another dimension to the story. Take the time to really examine them because there’s always more than what’s just on the surface. One of my favorite illustrations was also used as the cover of the book. We learn that the artist, Jorge Selaron, spent 23 years creating the Escadaria Selaron (Selaron Steps), and they’re a tribute to the people of Brazil. If you need a reminder of the cover image, just scroll up to the top of this post. I think that the detail in this image is a tribute to Jorge Selaron. I feel it was made with a certain respect honoring the original.Check out this beautiful kids book about Rio de Janeiro here. Click To Tweet
There was a lot packed into this book, and so many things I want to tell you about, but I’d rather you just buy the book and see for yourself. Get this now and prepare your kids for the onslaught of Brazil they’re about to experience as the summer Olympics comes to Rio. Meanwhile, I’m going to wait for a good flight deal.
Ready to learn more about Rio de Janeiro? Buy the book on Amazon here.
Want to know more about what the author learned about Rio de Janeiro while researching the book? Go here. (Side note: I appreciated that he mentioned favelas in the book, so it was interesting to read more about them in this post.)
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This post is part of Molly Week!
Age Range: 4-8 Years
Author: Chris Oler, Illustrated by Amy Houston Oler
Publisher: Createspace Independent Publishing Platform
Please note: I was given a copy of the book to review, but all opinions are my own.
Enter to win a chance to receive the latest book in the Molly and the Magic Suitcase Series, Molly Goes to Rio de Janiero. Details below.
This is the last official post for #mollyweek, but not the last post. I have surprise bonus material that I’ll be posting this weekend. Not book reviews, not interviews… so what could it be?