The Fabulous Firework Family
by James Flora
My friend, Silvia, is getting into the book business as well. Her great love is hunting down beat up but beautiful vintage books and giving them new life as book marks, note cards, and whatever else her mind can conceive. She passes on to me any books she finds of significant value or any book she can't bear to deconstruct. This is one such book.
For years, I've seen hints of James Flora in the book blogs, his crazy illustrations showing up to tease me, hinting that for a pretty price tag, I too could own one of his creations. And if it wasn't for the fact that someone other than me has a stake in the sale of this book, it would be ours. And ours alone. So good is this book.
Enough ado. Meet Pepito and his family. For weeks he and his family work on a masterful firework display for a village celebration. This book gives such a wonderful description of the art of firework making. Not the cheap factory junk, but handcrafted sculptures.
All the while, Boca Grande, the family's parrot screeching, "Don't forget the red. Don't forget the red."
Soon arrives the day of the fiesta. Pepito and Amelia watch a lot of men and boys try to climb a greased pole. A chicken tied to the top of the pole is their prize.
The descriptions of the fiesta, complete with a mock bull fight, are delightful.
As is the description of the precarious installment of the completed fireworks castle.
One by one, the fuses are lit, setting off rocket wheels, flip-flopping clowns, and an ogre eating a kingfish.
I've been to many a Fourth of July celebrations, many New Years festivals, but never have I seen a fireworks display so fantastically glorious, so rich with pageantry. And I'd have to agree with Flora:
Viva the Fabulous Firework Family!