Monday, June 15, 2009

Book Review: Haluhalo Espesyal by Yvette Ferreol

"I am lying in bed and not feeling very well. It is Monday and I have been sick at home for one whole week. I miss seeing the sun. I miss being with my friends. I miss playing in the street." 

So begins the story of Jackie, a sweet young middle schooler who is home from school. Her mother checks on her before she leaves for work. Jackie is so sick, she doesn't do the usual things kids do when they're home from school. She's doesn't read or watch tv, play computer games, catch up on her dvds or chat with friends. She dreams of her loving grandmother, Lola Itang and her Lola Itang's kitchen. Lola Itang's kitchen is a magical place where everything is just right. 

From her lips to God's ears, her Lola Itang comes to visit bearing her favorite foods. Jackie and her Lola Itang have their adventures as they recreate Jackie's favorite foods. 

It's a lovely book - the illustrations are fun and cheery. They'll draw a kid's eyes and keep them captivated. I'm biased though - I love stories that have loving grandparents and the close friendships that they have with their grandchildren. In that way, this book reminds me of Poppy's Pants by Melissa Conroy. Reading the book, I could feel the love between Jackie and her grandmother. 

Haluhalo is a Filipino dessert with crushed ice, milk and a mix of delicious beans, candied fruits, and sweets. The author included a recipe of haluhalo in the book, which I think is a nice touch. The author is a food writer and producer for Bloomberg TV in NYC, and the book's food descriptions reflect the author's appreciation and love for Filipino delicacies. 

The book is written in two languages - English and in Filipino (Tagalog). The bilingual touch isn't distracting and you can easily stick to just English, when you read it. I'd recommend the book to both Filipinos and non-Filipinos alike. It'd be a good gift book as well. 

I'm looking forward to seeing a hard copy version of the book.

Publisher:  Adarna House Inc. (March 16, 2006), 32 pages.
Courtesy of Yvette Ferreol, the author.  Thank you for the book and the opportunity to review it, Yvette.

The book is hard to find, but you can get a copy through Amazon.


  1. We have many of these books written in tagalog and English as my husband is Filipino and this is an easy and fun way to introduce the language and culture to our children. I'm not a big fan of halo-halo but my husband would be so excited to know that there is a story about it now! I'll have to try to find it!

  2. Pam, that's wonderful! Thank you for the post! I hope that you enjoy the book as much as I did.