Cover image for Estela's swap
Estela's swap
O'Neill, Alexis, 1949-
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Lee & Low Books, [2002]

Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 27 cm
A young Mexican American girl accompanies her father to a swap meet, where she hopes to sell her music box for money for dancing lessons.
Reading Level:
480 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 3.1 0.5 62771.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PIC.BK. Juvenile Fiction Central Closed Stacks
PIC.BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
PIC.BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books

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Estela, a Mexican-American girl, attends her first swap meet, where she plans to sell a music box to make money for lessons with the Ballet Folklorico. When a strong wind ruins the flowers the woman across from her is selling, Estela decides to give her the music box so she can listen to cheerful music while she makes new flowers. Full-color illustrations.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

K^-Gr. 3. It's early Sunday morning at the Santa Ana Swap Meet, and Estela is excited. Today she hopes to sell something--a music box--for the first time, and then use the money for dance lessons. Watching her father she learns how to bargain, but she can't find a buyer for her own item. Another vendor admires the music box, just as Estela admires the dancing skirt that the vendor is sewing. There's no exchange of money; instead, Estela and the vendor trade the box and skirt as gifts. Like Juan Felipe Herrera's Grandma and Me at the Flea [BKL Ap 1 02], this is a warm, nicely paced story about sharing and bartering that's filled with sensory descriptions of the vibrant open market. The textured acrylics capture the hum and bustle of the stalls, but the colorful scenery doesn't overwhelm the story; Sanchez paints the characters in sharp focus, so that they pop out against the blurred, evocative background scenes. A good starting point for classroom discussion across the curriculum. Gillian Engberg

School Library Journal Review

PreS-Gr 2-A Hispanic child joins her father and brother at their Swap Meet stall, hoping to sell her music box to earn the last $10 she needs to pay for folk-dancing lessons. Estela meets an older woman who sells paper flowers and is sewing a falda (skirt), and who admires the music box and its sounds that remind her of her childhood. When a strong wind creates a chaos of tumbled goods, tents, and tarps, the flower seller's wares are gone. In a gesture of generosity and compassion, the little girl gives her the treasured box so she can listen to the music as she makes more flowers. At the end of the day, the older woman presents Estela with the falda as a swap for her music box, creating a satisfying end to a day of excitement. O'Neill subtly weaves details of trades and bargaining into the fabric of her story to give readers a tangible taste of swaps or flea markets. Sanchez uses richly colored, bright acrylics to render the energy and bustle of a Swap Meet in his full-bleed illustrations. The text is skillfully incorporated into the illustrations and the focus on each spread remains firmly on the plucky heroine. All in all, a wonderful bargain.-Marge Loch-Wouters, Menasha's Public Library, WI (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.