When This World Was New

By School Library Journal

When his family leaves their warm Caribbean island to come to the United States, Danilito is apprehensive. Everything is new- the cold weather, the heavy clothing, the language. But the first morning in his new home brings the wondrous discovery of snow, “millions of white rose petals floating downwards,” a magic that turns parked cars into polar bears and silences all sounds. Before Uncle Berto comes to drive Danilito to his new school and Papa to a factory job, father and son make snowballs and footprints together. Although the boy is still frightened, it’s “not as much.” The language is simple and the imagery is appropriate to the viewpoint of a young child. A few phrases of Spanish are used and translated. The rounded forms and soft colors in the acrylic paintings emphasize the gentle affection of this close knit family. Mama’s smile, Papa’s anxious pleasure, and Danilito’s joy in the snowfall are beautifully portrayed in warm tones. Danilito may worry about the unknown, but he accepts and embraces his new world so that even his greatest fear, falling on ice, becomes one more marvel, as readers see him on the last page ice skating while his smiling parents watch.