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Armando and La Baula

by Jim Parisi

armando and la baulaArmando is a young Tico boy who has lived his entire nine years with his family, just a stones-throw from Playa Real on the Pacific Ocean in Guanacaste, Costa Rica. He’s a smart kid with an active curiosity and Playa Real has continually offered him an abundance of different ways to explore and learn. Upon his request, Armando’s father allows him to spend the night alone on the beach on the evening of his ninth birthday because Armando wants to witness the phenomena of the Baula turtles coming ashore to lay their eggs. What transpires on that night has a huge impact on Armando: he does, indeed, see a Baula lay her eggs. In fact, the turtle introduces herself (Yes! She speaks!) as “Annabella”, or Bella for short, and has quite a story to tell the impressionable Armando.

This story is the premise of “Armando and La Baula”, the new, self-published book by David Robert. The story line moves right along, guaranteeing to keep young readers’ interest. There are more than a few good lessons concerning ecology, honesty, the value of a promise along the way, making it well worth it for the parents to read along with their children. Or even to read it alone for their own good: there is information in the book about both the life cycle of the Baula turtle and some of the species-threatening problems they are currently experiencing of which I was not aware. The chapters have been separated by the wonderful watercolor illustrations of Ellie Cox, helping the young reader to visualize Armando and his surroundings through the various phases of his adventure. It is a story that succeeds on a few different levels at being worthy of any young reader’s collection. Along the way, there are wonderful geographic descriptions and folkloric stories, all playing a part in the story line. The plight of the Baula turtle and many other species of Costa Rican wildlife is not a new development. But teaching people at an early age about it seems like a positive step to help come up with a solution. And David Robert’s book certainly makes the message easily digestible for a new generation. In fact, the story points toward a few viable answers and alternatives, with the potential for the young reader to become his parents’ teacher.

Armando and La Baula is available at Jaime Peligro bookstores in Playa Tamarindo, Quepos, and Tilaran or can be ordered at: jaimepeligro123@hotmail.com

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