The Secret Door/La Puerta Secreta by Minda Gomez introduces young readers to the Martinez children, Rico, Diego, and Aracela, and their fantastic adventures. In this short chapter book, we can enjoy their treetop, ocean, and rainforest exploits via the neighbor’s virtual reality system (hidden behind that secret door) as they learn about the values of contentment, honesty, and wisdom.
Minda Gomez is also the book’s illustrator. Her drawings are vibrant and entertaining. She also did the Spanish translation along with her husband, Moises Gomez. According to the author, the Martinez family is based closely on her own multicultural family, which made it fun to write because she knew the characters so well. The family’s creative neighbor Don Toño is a combination of the author’s actual neighbor and her suegro (father-in-law), although she admits that neither is the inventor of the fabulous VR door featured in the story.
In the English version, there is a guide to pronouncing the characters’ Spanish names and two and a half pages devoted to Spanish/English translation and phonetic pronunciation of the Spanish terms. The Spanish edition defines the English words, and a pronunciation guide is included. Additionally, readers are directed to www.mindagomez.com to hear the English pronunciation.
Finally, both versions include a section on Mami’s Spicy Turkey Quesadillas, a recipe even kids could prepare to round out the adventures.
I received an ARC for reviewing purposes.
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