Ratoncito Perez – Mexican Tooth Mouse

The munchkin had to have a baby tooth pulled. This is what the dentist gave her.




El Ratoncito Pérez or Ratón Pérez (literally translated into English as Perez mouse or Perez the Mouse) is a figure popular in Spanish and Hispanic American cultures, similar to the tooth fairy, originating in Madrid in 1894 when Luis Coloma was contracted to write a story for Alfonso XIII, who had just lost his tooth at the age of 8.

Coloma’s story follows Ratoncito Pérez who lived with his family in a box of cookies in Madrid, but frequently ran away from home through the pipes of the city, and into the bedrooms of children who had lost their teeth. The story details how Ratoncito Pérez cunningly misleads any cats in the vicinity who may be lurking, and includes his interaction with King Buby (Queen Maria Christina’s nickname for Alfonso XIII).

The city council of Madrid paid tribute to Ratoncito Pérez with a commemorative plaque outside the warehouse where the mouse was said to have lived. The plaque reads: “Here lived, in a box of cookies, Ratoncito Pérez, according to the story that the father Coloma wrote for the young King Alfonso XIII.” Ratoncito Pérez thus became the first fictional character honored with a plaque by the Madrid City Council. Coloma’s original manuscript, with his signature and a dedication to King Alfonso XIII, is now located in the vault of the Royal Palace Library.

Statue of Ratoncito Perez



The Fountains of Silence – Ruta Sepetys

I have vague memories of hearing about the Spanish Civil War and Hemingway, but it wasn’t until I read Domingo’s Angel by Jenny Twist, that I had some understanding of what really happened.

In Twist’s novel, a tall, thin, pale English girl wanders into a remote Spanish mountain village, meets a young villager and stays. This is not just their love story. It is the story of the personalities and dynamics of a small community and of the worsening conditions under Franco’s rule.

The Fountains of Silence brings even greater understanding of the harsh conditions and tyranny of Franco’s regime. Ostensibly this is a YA or NA novel, bit it doesn’t feel that way as you read. Daniel comes to Madrid with his parents. An aspiring photo journalist, he pokes his nose where he shouldn’t. Through his eyes we begin to see the horrid conditions in Spain in the 50s.

Well written, informative, with great characters and a nice touch of romance. Includes vintage media reports, oral history commentary, photos, which add depth to the story.




Madrid, 1957. Under the fascist dictatorship of General Francisco Franco, Spain is hiding a dark secret. Meanwhile, tourists and foreign businessmen flood into Spain under the welcoming promise of sunshine and wine. Among them is eighteen-year-old Daniel Matheson, the son of an oil tycoon, who arrives in Madrid with his parents hoping to connect with the country of his mother’s birth through the lens of his camera. Photography–and fate–introduce him to Ana, whose family’s interweaving obstacles reveal the lingering grasp of the Spanish Civil War–as well as chilling definitions of fortune and fear. Daniel’s photographs leave him with uncomfortable questions amidst shadows of danger. He is backed into a corner of difficult decisions to protect those he loves. Lives and hearts collide, revealing an incredibly dark side to the sunny Spanish city.

Master storyteller Ruta Sepetys once again shines light into one of history’s darkest corners in this epic, heart-wrenching novel about identity, unforgettable love, repercussions of war, and the hidden violence of silence–inspired by the true postwar struggles of Spain.





Factoring Humanaity – Robert J. Sawyer


Simply put, Robert Sawyer is brilliant and his novels are always intriguing and informative. In “Factoring Humanity” Sawyer juxtaposes our world with its family and life stresses with that of an alien race that sends signals to Earth. When Heather finally breaks the code of the messages, we, along with her husband and daughter, are taken along for an amazing ride.


In 2007, a signal is detected coming from the Alpha Centauri system. Mysterious, unintelligible data streams in for ten years. Heather Davis a professor in the University of Toronto psychology department, has devoted her career to deciphering the message. Her estranged husband, Kyle, is working on the development of artificial intelligence systems and new computer technology utilizing quantum effects to produce a near-infinite number of calculations simultaneously.

When Heather achieves a breakthrough, the message reveals a startling new technology that rips the barriers of space and time, holding the promise of a new stage of human evolution. In concert with Kyle’s discoveries of the nature of consciousness, the key to limitless exploration — or the end of the human race — appears close at hand.


No parade is complete without horses. Mexico’s Revolution Day

Revolution Day is an official Mexican government holiday, celebrated annually iRevolution Day is an official Mexican government holiday, celebrated annually in Mexico on November 20th. On this date, in the year 1910 the revolutionary war to overthrow the dictator Porfirio Díaz, began. http://www.darlenejonesauthor.com




It rains and now it’s personal.

No photo description available.


It rains. Within an hour a river is running through your house.

We’ve seen it on the news hundreds of times. The destruction. The devastation. The panic. Terrible, yes, but so far away.

This time, though, is different. This time it’s your family fleeing the water. Now, you truly understand the horror that people face. Overwhelmed with the task of cleaning, as you survey your property in the aftermath and search for valued possessions — the mementos that hold so many memories.  Where do you begin? And when you have restored your home, will you ever feel safe again?


Some books are more special than others



I love the ebook revolution. I love my ereader. I love that my books are available in ereader formats as well as print. I love being able to carry a library with me.

So many pluses for the book lover. See a book that sounds interesting. Download a sample. Enjoy the sample. Check out a few reviews. Reviews are encouraging. Buy with one click.

Do all of this from anywhere in the world.

Unlike other readers, I’m not tied to print books. I don’t think there is any loss of enjoyment in the story if I read an electronic version.

But … and it’s a big but, I do bemoan the following:

Nothing matches the joy of an uncle handing you a book from his laden shelves, one you undertake to read with some trepidation, for what can the aging old fellow possibly know about your young heart? You read…

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6 Degrees of Separation – connecting books

Inspired by Davida Chazan’s post, I decided to give this a try. See her chain here The Chocolate Lady’s Book Review Blog

Davida writes, “This is a monthly link-up hosted by Kate at Books Are My Favourite and Best. Each month a book is chosen as a starting point and linked to six other books to form a chain. A book doesn’t need to be connected to all the other books on the list, only to the one next to it in the chain.” See the graphic below.

FIRST DEGREE — I start my chain with a favorite, Mixed Marriage by Elizabeth Cadell (1963), a book I’ve read many times for the sheer pleasure of laughing out loud.

Written in diary format, sometimes with incomplete sentences (befitting a diary, of course), Cadell expertly profiles a young English bride-to-be and her family along with her Portuguese groom-to-be and his family. As the young couple grapple with wedding plans, we witness the ups and downs of dealing with family, in-laws, and cultural differences. The writing is wonderful, the depictions often hilarious, but most importantly, timeless.


Domingo's Angel by [Twist, Jenny]


SECOND DEGREE — The theme of mixed marriage takes me to Domingo’s Angel by Jenny Twist. A tall, thin, pale English girl wanders into a remote Spanish mountain village, meets a young villager and stays. This is not just their love story. It is the story of the personalities and dynamics of a small community and of the worsening conditions under Franco’s rule. It is the villagers’ resilience as they struggle to survive that touches your heart.





THIRD DEGREE — Village life takes me to Louis de Bernieres’ Birds Without Wings. Here again, we find a happy little village of Greeks and Turks, living and loving, arguing and laughing; many of them hedging their bets by offering both Christian and Muslim prayers. Outside influences disrupt their tranquil life as the ravages of war invade their village and young men sign up to fight in the trenches. We witness and share the agony of the battles those men fight and flare with anger at the injustice of it all. All the politicians and soldiers can just damn well go away and leave these people in peace. But, as always the power brokers impose their greed and warmongering and people do what they must to survive, grasping at whatever straws there may be.



FOURTH DEGREE — Doing what one must to survive brings me to A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles. In 1922, Count Alexander Rostov is deemed an unrepentant aristocrat by a Bolshevik tribunal, and is sentenced to house arrest in the Metropol, a grand hotel across the street from the Kremlin. This may not sound like a hardship and in many ways it isn’t as the Count is rich and adapts quite well to the rich lifestyle of the hotel. But, later when his money won’t fix all his problems he proves to be resilient and resourceful, as he watches the drama of upheaval in his beloved homeland, events he would have been participating in directly if not for his house arrest.



I Do Not Come to You by Chance by [Nwaubani, Adaobi Tricia]

FIFTH DEGREE — Ah, how the circumstances we are born into affect our lives. At least, that is the case for Kingsley as it is for the count, in the novel, I Do Not Come to You by Chance by Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani. Kingsley, the well-educated eldest son, bears the responsibility of training his younger siblings and providing financial support for his parents in their retirement.  Unable to find a job and in desperate need of money; he can’t marry his dear Ola without a bride price. With his diplomas little more than decorations on the walls of his parents humble home, Kingsley’s desire to protect his family draws him down a path he never could have anticipated.



News of the World: A Novel by [Jiles, Paulette]

SIXTH DEGREE — In the first five books I’ve chosen, the power of love is the driving force–young love in happy circumstances, young love in tragic circumstances, love of neighbors and friends and the sacrifices they make for each other, love of country, love for family and the fierce desire to protect–but what about the love of a stranger? The answer is found in News of the World by Paulette Jiles. I loved this book so much that I finished it, turned back to page one and read it again. An elderly widower, Captain Kidd enjoys his solitary wanderings roaming from town to town reading the news as a means to support himself. Then he is offered a $50 gold piece to deliver a young recently-rescued captive of the Kiowa to her aunt and uncle. Surviving a 400 mile journey, the two arrive only to find that her aunt and uncle don’t want her. Will the Captain abandon her or…?

I hope you’ve enjoyed this post. I’d love to see any #6 Degrees lists you might have.

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