GONZALO GRABS THE GOOD LIFE published by Eerdmans Books For Young Readers
After Gonzalo wins the lottery, he decides it's time to leave the farm and go out and find the good life. He tries everything,from boating to golf to solos in the church choir - but no matter where de goes or what new adventure he embarks on, Gonzalo still does not find what he's looking for.
What will make this sassy rooster happy?
This rollicking story, with its bright, colorful illustrations, will remind readers that sometimes contentment is right in your own backyard.
SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL:
Grade 1-4 When Gonzalo the rooster wins the lottery, he leaves his job on the farm for the "good life." He buys a mansion in Miami and a yacht, where he gets seasick.Then he heads to Hollywood and becomes a party animal. As expected, he runs out of cash, but finds salvation in church. Soon he is the talk of the town because of his voice, but even then he is not satisfied. Gonzalo decides to return to the farm after a vivid dream calls him home. Once there he returns to crowing every morning though he continues to complain about everything. The illustrations are created with acrylics on gessoed paper and convey GONZALO'S COLORFUL AND HUMOROUS ANTICS. In one scene, he is lounging by the pool wearing sunglasses, attended by a butler refreshing his drink, a banker ushering in a four layer cake and a maid dusting the palm trees. The vibrant colors and stong lines pulse with Gonzalo's strong personality and oddball situations. KIDS WIll ENJOY THE ROOSTER'S ADVENTURES AND THE STORY COULD OPEN UP A CONVERSATION ABOUT SUDDENLY STRIKING IT RICH AND ABOUT THE VALUE OF HOME.
Spanish words pepper the text and are defined in a glossary at the story's end. - Linda M. Kenton, Pickleweed Public Library, San Rafael,California
A rooster story joins the comic flock. When Gonzalo wins the lottery, he complains that rooster life is nothing to crow about and so hops a bus for the good life. He buys a mansion in Miami and a a yacht and joins the county club, but he gets seasick and then stuck in a putting green. Next he tries being a party animal in Hollywood but instead he just gets fat. Without money and friends, he goes to church and joins the choir, packing the aisles with singing. Wise words from Padre Juan send him home, where he takes over his old job and finally stops complaining - most of the time. Acrylic illustrations and gessoed paper animate the HUMOR WITH FINE-FEATHERED CLEVERNESS, adding wry details like the yacht's name, La Chicka Loca. A vocabulary list defines the six Spanish words mentioned throughout. THIS IS BEAK-IN-CHEEK FUN WITH AN UNDERLYING MESSAGE. - Julie Cummins
Slavin mixes human and animals indiscriminately in his thickly textured illustrations and, along with tucking visual jokes, ENDOWS THE IRRITABLE, SCRAGGLY-LOOKING GONZALO WITH PLENTY OF PERSONALITY.
CATHOLIC LIBRARY WORLD,DECEMBER,2009
What makes us happy? Gonzalo is a chronic complainer about the little annoyances in life in this picture book for ages five to eight. He spots a way out when lottery winnings allow him to pursue what he thinks will be fulfilling: excessive high living and fame through his singing. The search is futile, and his fortune is soon gone. Finally Pastor Juan advises him,"When you can't find your car keys, they're usually in your pocket." Inspired by this he returns home, where he finds his singing is still needed. That brings him satisfaction at last and the opportunity to return to complaining about the petty annoyances. The story has a rural Mexican setting. The Hispanic words and phrases that are used are explained in the back material. The underlying story is part prodigal son and part "finding happiness in your own back yard," with a sly reminder that some people, even if they are basically content, will always find a reason to complain. This will be a fun addition to public libraries and could be used by church leaders to begin discussion on true happiness.
HORN BOOK GUIDE, FALL 2009
After rooster Gonzalo wins the lottery, he quits farmwork. He tries living in a Miami mansion and then as a Hollywood party animal, but the good life disagrees with him. This story, peppered with Spanish words and phrases, has a halfhearted point to make about humility, but it's mainly AN AMUSEMENT, WITH NEARLY EVERY ACRYLIC-ON-GESSO PAGE A VISUAL PUNCH LINE.
LIBRARIES ALIVE, SPRING, 2010 When Gonzalo the rooster wins the lottery, he quits his job on Don Chucho's farm and sets off for the 'good life." He buys a mansion with a human staff and a yacht and joins a country club. Eventually, though, he gets sick from eating too much candy, tired from dancing all night, and his feathers fall out in the hot tub. When he runs out of friends and money, he goes to church and prays. Gonzalo finds acceptance and success in the church choir, but he sitll isn't happy. After having a strange dream, Gonzalo decideds to go home, and Don Chucho happily receives him back. It's a prodigal son-type story but with much less fanfare when Gonzalo returns. A few simple words of Spanish are thrown in too, with a glossary at the back of the book. The colorful, comic illustrations perfectly acompany the text... PARENTS AND CHILDREN ALIKE WILL APPRECIATE THE CLEVER DIALOG AND THE SILLY HUMOR. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED FOR AGES 7-10
CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE, DECEMBER 12, 2009 When Gonzalo wins the lottery, he quits the farm and heads off in search of the good life. He buys a mansion in Miami and even goes to Hollywood and becomes a party animal. But "ay caramba!" the misadventures he encounters are quite amusing. JANICE LEVY'S HUMOROUS LOOK AT THE SEARCH FOR HAPPINESS REFLECTS PEOPLE, NOT JUST ANIMALS. SLAVIN'S BEAUTIFULLY PAINTED BUT HILARIOUS ILLUSTRATIONS ARE PERFECT FOR THOSE BEING READ TO AS WELL AS THOSE DOING THE READING.
ECONKIDS, SEPTEMBER 21, 2009
Gonzalo the rooster has some quibbles about his working conditions on the farm, so winning the lottery provides the perfect opportunity for him to seek contentment somewhere else. Gonzalo uses his new wealth to purchase a mansion in Florida, hire a domestic staff, join a country club, buy a fancy yacht, and become a party animal, but none of these luxuries make him happy. running out of money and friends may prove a blessing in disguise as Gonazalo embarks on a different path to discover what it is that he truly needs.WITH ITS TONGUE-IN-CHEEK HUMOR AND ENORMOUSLY FUNNY ILLUSTRATIONS, THIS BOOK IS AN OBVIOUS CROWD PLEASER. WOVEN INTO THE TALL TALE IS AN IMPORTANT LESSON ABOUT WANTS AND NEEDS, A LESSON THAT CHILDREN WILL NOT SOON FORGET GIVEN GONZALO'S ABSURD AND CHARMING SHENANIGANS
CANADIAN REVIEW OF MATERIALS, 5/29/09
Excerpt: After Ganzolo won the lottery, he hopped of the roof and pecked don Chuco on the nose. "I'm rich!" He said. "Get another rooster. I quit!"
Having your wish granted is a common theme in literature. The modern day twist on this theme, the dream of winning the lottery and having the freedom to quit your job and do wahtever you want, will be familiar to most children, even preschoolers. Like King Midas discovered, however, sometimes things don't turn out the way you expected.
Janice Levy's tale takes Gonzalo through all of the steps of his familiar fairy tale. Our hero, Gonzalo the rooster, strikes it rich and leaves his humble environment on the farm for the big time in the city. He buys everything money can buy, lives the good life with his new friends, but doesn't find the happiness he his looking for.
When his money runs out, his new friends abandon him. Fortunately, Gonzalo meets a wise man and learns this interesting homily: When you can't find your car keys, they're usually in your pocket.
The back page includes a 'Vocabulario: Vocabulary' that translates the Spanish terms that are used in the story, for example, don: Mister (Mr.)
A FOUR STAR REVIEW ****. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
MULTICULTURAL REVIEW, SPRING, 2010 One of the surest ways I know a picture book is worth anybody's while is to sit with my six year old son Lukas and read it together. I know he enjoys it if it mysteriously disappears from the pile of titles Im reading or reviewing and I catch him rereading it on his own. That's exactly what happened with Levy's most recent picture book. We went through it together, and it became the latest book to grow legs....THE OVERALL MORAL IS OBVIOUS: APPRECIATE THE BLESSINGS OF LIFE.
WRGN/WHAT'S NEW ON THE BOOKSHELF, 3/4/09
Last on the shelf is a book entitled "Gonzalo Grabs the GOod LIfe." Janice Levy is the author and it is illustrated by Bill Slavin. Eerdmans Books for Young Readers is the publisher. After Gonzalo won the lottery, he hopped off the roof and pecked don Chucho on the nose. "I'm rich!" he said. "Get another rooster. I Quit!" "But Gonzalo," the farmer said, "Aren't you hapy here?" Gonzalo fluffed his feathers. "I don't like to complain, but the hens cluck all night, and the horse snores. The roof is so hard that my back hurts. I haven't slept in a week," With his new found fortune, this sassy rooster decides it's time to go out and find the good life. Gonzalo tries everything from lounging in mansions to singing solos in the church choir - but no matter where he goes or what new adventure he embarks on, Gonzalo does not find what he's looking for. What will make this rooster happy? Brought to life with whimsical, vibrant illustrations, this entertaining story will have readers laughing out loud.
CATHOLIC SAN FRANCISCO ON-LINE EDITION, 12/09
When Gonzalo the rooster wins the lottery, he quits his farm and heads off in search of the good life. He buys a mansion and even goes to Hollywood and becomes a party animal. But "ay caramba!" the misadventures he encounters are quite humorous as she shows how animals, as well as people, search for happiness. The illustraions are hilarious and perfect for those being read to as well as those doing the reading.
This book is recommended as a good gift for the holidays.
THE GRAND RAPIDS PRESS,5/17/09
This is a fun book that adds spice to kids' summer reading. There's a lesson to be learned in this book. It's funny enough to think of a rooster winning the lottery, but watching him spend his fortunes is an adventure in itself.
After his big win, Gonzalo quits his job on the farm in search of the "good life" --which, of course, includes a mansion, a yacht and a fancy hot tub. The hilarious story and cartoon art show there is much more to the good life than money.
CHILDREN'S LITERATURE, 2008
Gonzalo the rooster is thrilled when he wins the lottery. His new wealth means that he can leave Don Chucho's farm for the "good life." But despite his yacht and his mansion in Miami, Gonzalo is not happy. He tries living "la vida loa" in Hollywood, but he gets tired - "too tired to cock-a-doodle-doo" - and his feet hurt. When all his money is gone, Gonzalo goes to church. There, he is invited to sing in the choir, but he is still not happy. In a dream, Gonzalo hears the wind tell him to go home. Don Chucho is delighted to have the brid back at his crowing job. As for Gonzalo, "He even stopped complaining - most of the time." The artist creates vital characters with appealing and amusing personalities in fully detailed settings. Humor of details and stiuations are shown throughout, such as in the sunglasses Gonzalo wears as he lounges, the drink in his "hand" or his grimace of pain as he lounges with an ice bag on his head, soaking his feet. The Spanish words that add spice to the text are defined in a vocabulary section. This story is an amusing twist on the old theme "There's no place like home."