Julio and his friend Iluminado, an older, master wood-carver, find ideas in the forest where they gather wood. Musicians, angels, and amazing creatures of all kinds hide in every curving branch.
This year there is a contest with a big prize for the best carving in the land, and Julio wants to enter. All through the Mexican village where Julio and Iluminado live, people are saying that the carvings Julio is making for the contest are great. When Julio sees how hard times are for Iluminado, whose eyesight is failing and whose crops are not good, Julio has some decisions to make about friendship and generosity.
"Set in a small village of wood carvers in southern Mexico, this gentle tale celebrates artistic creation, community and kindness. Grifalconi's collages mingling manipulated photographs and painted surfaces have magic of their own."–Kirkus Reviews
"Giving can be just as wonderful as winning. The fanciful and colorful wood carvings of the Oaxacan people provide the backbone for this slice-of-life story. Excellent for art and social studies classrooms to explore. It is also a compassionate intergenerational story and will open the door to discussions about friendship."–Linda M. Kenton, School Library Journal