Rica Baptista: Llamas, Iguanas, and My Very Best Friend (Hardcover)
Rica Baptista's very best friend is moving away! The obvious solution: Rica needs to prove to her parents that she's responsible enough to get a pet so she won't be lonely. Babysitting chaos, a yard sale extravaganza, and a poetry contest - Rica is about to try it all! This is a short and engaging chapter book for fans of Ivy & Bean that's all about friendship, exotic animals that may or may not make good pets, and trying even when you're nervous or afraid! (Fun fact: Rica is named after her great-great-grandfather Frederico who left Cape Verde because of the drought but collected food and clothing to send back to the island.)
- Kinsey Foreman, High Five Books (Florence, MA)— From NECBA Windows & Mirrors 2023 Short List
Rica Baptista wants—no, needs—a pet. A llama, a kinkajou, or maybe an iguana? She even has a name picked out: Frederica, her own name, after her Cape Verdean great-great-grandfather. But Rica’s parents say no almost faster than their mouths can open. The worst part is that Rica can’t tell anyone the real reason she wants a pet, because she’s not supposed to know—she overheard that her best friend, Laini, is moving away, and Rica worries about being left behind. Rica and Laini make lists of the benefits of having a pet to convince Rica’s parents, and they try all sorts of schemes to raise money to afford one, from party planning to holding a yard sale to entering a poetry contest. But in the end, it might be an act of unselfish kindness and courage that shows that Rica is ready to take on the pet of her dreams. In a rich and amusing story that will appeal to fans of Judy Moody and Ivy and Bean, a sincere and creative protagonist navigates friend and family relationships from funny to frustrating, endearing to insightful.
Gladys Jose is the illustrator of several books for young readers. She lives in Florida with her husband and daughter.
Bates paints a vivid picture of Rica's family, folding in plenty of details of their Cape Verde heritage. . . . This heartening and optimistic chapter book emphasizes resourcefulness and resilience in the face of worry, themes sure to resonate with elementary-schoolers, and a final sweet twist is the perfect rosy note to end on.
The breezy chapter book, peppered with cartoon-style illustrations, is a fresh look at evergreen themes. . . . Rica’s first-person narration is convincing and endearing.
—The Horn Book
This humorous and thoughtful book introduces a charismatic and clever heroine. . . Black-and-white illustrations complement the sweet plot and are sure to leave readers wishing for another chance to visit Rica’s world. . . . A heartfelt story full of great characters that will encourage readers to keep trying, this is a wonderful addition to fiction collections for children.
—School Library Journal
Oh, garbanzo beans! You’ll be sorry if you wait to meet big-hearted Rica, who discovers the joy of family, friendship, pets, and the power of finding her own voice.
—Megan McDonald, New York Times best-selling author of the Judy Moody series
Rica is a welcome addition to the chapter book scene—she’s funny, determined, and kind. Readers will be rooting for Rica as she goes after her dream of getting a pet. I crown Rica Baptista the Queen of Trying!
—Debbi Michiko Florence, award-winning author of the Jasmine Toguchi series