Ana is your typical tween obsessed with her looks, Justin Bieber, and Facebook. But guess what? She hates her pretty freckles because Ana is at that age we felt we had to be perfect blemish-free and perfectly proportioned. The cruel reality is Ana has it good compare to me back in ’86. My coke bottle glasses and braces coupled with really bad acne?! C’mon Ana. Seriously. At any rate, her best friend Martina, a Frog/Door man, and 3 cute but mean witches are going to make these the fastest most enjoyable 96 pages you will read in Spanish this spring.
Note this review has a spoiler alert. Okay, so is it so bad that Ana Googles everything? (bad habit mija)? Well there you go kids reason 103 not to Google cosmetology tips for tweens. She does anyway and at the top of the results along with those adds is this totally titillating message. “Do you want to remove your freckles and get some serious looks from the boys this summer?” Everyone’s answer is: Yes! Sign me up.
Ana is mortified because her best friend Martina, a slightly chubby and stereotypical BFF signed her up for an audition and everyone is wearing make up and pretty dresses (but not her). To add insult to injury in the audition the boy of her dreams (I forgot his name he is rarely mentioned) has her read a funny tongue twister and everyone was laughing at her including La Chiclona (she who chews gum 24/7). So after all this, Ana leaves school early and gets the boldness to go through this crazy freckle surgery (sort of). This is probably the weakest point on the novel, it’s not believable even with all the imagination in the world.
Well like all the surgeries under 300 pesos in Tijuana, this one is botched as well. Darn it Ana! Oh well thank god is the weekend because she devices a plan to make sure this so-called doctor does the right thing after all. I will leave it there so you will be curious how it ends. Oh I almost forgot mEy!’s illustrations are kinda cool for that Indie Coffee Shoppe art gallery but not sure the artistic ambiguity works for 3rd graders, it could be an Argentinean thing (in this case) but I kind of forgot about the handful of illustrations since they were in black and white except for the cover. Oh yes the Index is also in the back (weird) along with a recipe (which is very appropriate) and ruler you can cut out from the book jacket itself (another issue for public libraries.) Urano, in the future just have it as a tear away in the middle of the book. Another thing this was Fraticelli’s freshman try and it shows. The characters need more meat, developing, depth as well. It’s hard for 2 guys to be writing about 2 tween girls especially since our experiences are nothing like the cat-like girl on girl bullying that goes on in schools today. Regardless of my criticism, I certainly would recommend for School and Public Libraries
Ana and the Cursed Freckles/Ana y la maldicion de las pecas by Nicolas Schuff and Damian Fraticelli. Illustrated by mEy! Urano/Uranito. Buenos Aires. 96 p. Paperback $10.95 USD Available as eBook ISBN 9789871710843. Ages 10 & up.