Samba in Brazil

Samba the Dog

Children - Adventure
36 Pages
Reviewed on 04/07/2021
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Deborah Lloyd for Readers' Favorite

Ariela is a ten-year-old girl who is originally from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. She and her family moved to Canada when she was a baby. Every year, she visits her Auntie Tia who lives in Salvador during Carnaval time. She insisted on bringing Samba, her six-month-old Bernese Mountain Dog. Tia teaches dance, as well as Afro-Brazilian history and culture and other school subjects, to children. As Samba is used to a cooler climate, Ariela takes steps to keep him cool, such as putting a cooling vest on him. They have several adventures together; the most memorable experience is participating in a Carnaval parade. Both wore magnificent costumes with sparkles and feathers, and they danced to the samba rhythm on a large float. In the children’s book, Samba in Brazil, author Paul Yanuziello crafts a delightful tale.

An outstanding feature of this book is the inclusion of many cultural facts about Brazil. For example, a typical breakfast is described, many roosters and packs of wild dogs are in the city, and several Portuguese phrases are included. Additionally, Ariela has visions of the sacred spirits of nature when she sees the Carnaval costumes – an important aspect of this festival. The illustrations by Joshua Miller are beautiful and will captivate the imaginations of children and parents alike. Parents will find many opportunities to discuss cultural traditions while reading this story to young children. Samba in Brazil is the second book in the Samba the Dog series, written by Paul Yanuziello. A wonderful addition to any child’s library!

Tiffany Ferrell

In Samba In Brazil, we are introduced to a little girl named Ariela and her Bernese Mountain dog named Samba. Even though Samba and Ariela were from Canada, they both currently are in Brazil visiting Ariela’s aunt who lives in Salvador. Ariela’s Tia is a dance teacher who teaches Afro-Brazilian history and culture. Ariela and Samba got up and found that Tia had made them a traditional Brazilian breakfast of cheese bread, fritters, fresh fruit, and açaí juice. Her aunt had left a note telling them she was at the school preparing for the parade and that they should meet her after they had eaten something. The two met Mestre Carlos who taught the Samba class, which was one of Ariela’s favorite dances. Eager to dance, Samba joined in. Soon all the children were in costume ready for the parade. Mestre Carlos also dressed Samba in a colorful costume that matched the young dancers. The parade float was full of dancers with Samba being right in the center of it all. Ariela and Samba danced beautifully for the parade and the two felt so lucky to be in Brazil during the biggest Carnaval in the world.

I thought Samba In Brazil was an adorable and fun read. It is informative to the young reader and also introduces them to Portuguese phrases and words, which is nice. I think it’s important for children to be able to speak more than one language and books like Samba In Brazil help with that. I also liked how the story teaches children about Bernese Mountain dogs and how they aren’t exactly equipped for hot weather like Brazil has. It goes further to show what Ariela does to ensure that her dog doesn’t get overheated. The pictures are also beautifully done and fit perfectly with the storyline. I think Paul Yanuziella has done a wonderful job with this story and I can’t wait to see what other adventures Ariela and Samba will have.

Emily-Jane Hills Orford

Ariela and her six-month-old Bernese Mountain dog, Samba, are on vacation in Brazil, visiting Ariela’s aunt. It’s carnival time and Ariela’s aunt, a dance instructor, is busy preparing the young people for the big parade. Ariela and Samba are participating, too. Can you imagine a big dog like Samba dancing on the parade truck? Well, he did and in a costume too, like the other dancers. He was having the time of his life.

Paul Yanuziello’s picture book story, Samba in Brazil (Samba the Dog), is a fun story for young readers. The main characters, a young girl, Ariela, and her dog, Samba, make a charming pair as they lead the story through the first adventurous day in Brazil. Ariela is obviously a dog lover, as she takes time to feed the stray dogs that venture close to her aunt’s house where they’re staying. This sign of compassion for stray dogs comes in handy when Ariela and Samba are challenged by another group of strays while enjoying some time on the beach. The colorful illustrations help carry this story along.

Most of the story is told in simple language to make it easier for young readers to follow and improve their reading skills. It also includes some words in Portuguese (with the English translations), which people speak in Brazil. The author has included a number of interesting details about Brazil to introduce young readers to another country. There is also an interesting information page at the end with more fun facts about Brazil. This may be a simple story for young readers, but there are lots of educational tidbits as well.