Dalia’s Wondrous Hair/ El cabello maravilloso de Dalia by Laura Lacámara, translated by Gabriela Baeza
One night as Dalia sleeps, her hair grows “straight up to the sky, tall and thick as a Cuban royal palm tree.” Delighted, Dalia decorates her gorgeous locks with “wild tamarind, violet and coontie leaves,” then requests that her mother guess “what kind of tree I am!” When Mama mis-guesses, Dalia continues to adorn herself further with mud from the marsh to “keep things in place.”
Neighbors offer to sweep and chop off Dalia’s growing mane, and even Mama offers her special moonflower shampoo. But Dalia begs for another night of creative reprieve, “sens[ing] something stirring and unfolding.” In the morning, Mama finally guesses correctly … and the whole neighborhood comes out in honor of Dalia’s Wondrous Hair.
Next up: Might Dalia give new meaning to the phrase, “a bee(hive) in your bonnet”?!
Throughout her vibrant, transformative tale, author/artist Laura Lacámara pays homage to “real-life references to the natural world found on the island of Cuba, [her] beloved birthplace.” That the marvelous fantasy is told simultaneously in both English and Spanish amplifies the cross-cultural enchantment. Lacámara presents her native flora and fauna in sumptuous, saturated hues, as young Dalia dances with whimsy and charm from page to page as she readies her hair for the dazzling display to come. Inventive and original, Lacámara presents a welcoming world where nature and creativity meld to make magic. The rooster is crowing: come play along!