With Love From Spain, Melanie Martin
by Carol Weston
Category: Fiction / General
246 pages; ISBN: 0440419727
Rating: 10/10 (Ratings explained)
Reviewer: Christine Louise Hohlbaum
Carol Weston has proven once again that she can entertain and educate at the same time. Her latest children’s book, With Love From Spain, Melanie Martin, provides an amusing linguistic travel adventure for kids ages 8 and up. Adults will chuckle and relate to the main character of Melanie, who feels the pain and confusion of first love while filling her senses with the compelling Spanish landscape.
The Martin family band together for a two-week Spring break vacation as seen through the eyes of eleven-year-old Melanie. The author offers her readers a consistent, even tone throughout the book. Melanie’s sometimes childish, sometimes teenage view of the world sets the stage for all that the Martin family experiences. From art museums to foreign cuisine, the author takes the reader with her wherever she goes. An additional plus to the book is that she phonetically spells the Spanish words that the fictitious Melanie learns. I found myself saying some of the words aloud and learning quite a few things along the way. An appendix of all the foreign words Ms. Weston used would have been an added benefit to the book.
You can almost smell the musty old four-hundred year-old paintings and taste the fresh pescado in the various bars and outdoor restaurants in which Melanie and her clan dine. One of my favorite lines in the book comes in the section “Angel’s apartment, incredibly late”. The author writes: “Spaniards don’t believe in bedtime. They believe in nighttime.” The cultural differences are fascinating to the reader, made all the more real by Melanie’s enthusiasm and joie de vivre.
Luckily, Ms. Weston does not harp too long on the lovesick side of Melanie which could, to the adult reader, have become tiresome fairly quickly. Nonetheless, the reader is satisfied with the outcome of Melanie’s relationship to the Spanish Migue who is 1 ½ years her senior. Readers will be relieved to know that they can read more about Melanie and Miguel in the fourth book in the series: Melanie in Manhattan.
With Love From Spain, Melanie Martin will make you want to take your kids on a European adventure of your own, no matter where you live in the world! I highly recommend the book for its witty, yet educational quality.
Christine Louise Hohlbaum, official SAHM expert for ClubMom, award-winning American writer and author of Diary of a Mother: Parenting Stories and Other Stuff (2003) and SAHM I Am: Tales of a Stay-at-Home Mom in Europe (2005), lives near Munich, Germany with her husband and two children. Visit her Web site at http://www.DiaryofaMother.com.
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