All the Way to Havana
So we purr, cara cara, and we glide, taka taka, and we zoom, zoom, ZOOM! Together, a boy and his parents drive to the city of Havana, Cuba, in their old family car. Along the way, they experience the sights and sounds of the streets--neighbors talking, musicians performing, and beautiful, colorful cars putt-putting and bumpety-bumping along. In the end, though, it's their old car, Cara Cara, that the boy loves best.

All the Way to Havana Details

TitleAll the Way to Havana
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseAug 29th, 2017
PublisherHenry Holt and Co. (BYR)
ISBN-139781627796422
Rating
GenreChildrens, Picture Books, Family, Cultural, Transport, Cars

All the Way to Havana Review

  • Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
    January 1, 1970
    A boy and his family get their old car running and head off to Havana for a celebration in this book with startlingly beautiful illustration and rich text. You will come away from this book with a deep appreciation for the stubborn persistence of Cuba's people and the lush beauty of their land.
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  • Chance Lee
    January 1, 1970
    A wonderful book for young ones and the older ones reading to them. This is the story of a young boy riding in the ramshackle family car to a party celebrating the birth of a new baby in the family. The car makes noises that are fun to imitate. The illustrations are beautiful, with subtle colors and details. Car enthusiasts may enjoy the endpapers and cover (under the dust jacket) depicting 1950s automobiles -- the cars that crowd Cuba's streets. An author's and illustrator's note at the end giv A wonderful book for young ones and the older ones reading to them. This is the story of a young boy riding in the ramshackle family car to a party celebrating the birth of a new baby in the family. The car makes noises that are fun to imitate. The illustrations are beautiful, with subtle colors and details. Car enthusiasts may enjoy the endpapers and cover (under the dust jacket) depicting 1950s automobiles -- the cars that crowd Cuba's streets. An author's and illustrator's note at the end give historical context.
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  • Marjorie Ingall
    January 1, 1970
    Gorgeous art -- I love that Mike Curato can do cute elephants AND incredibly detailed vintage cars! The story is sweet and onomatopoetic, and any kid who loves cars will pore over the images. Parents and teachers should be prepared to go into more detail about why Cuba is so full of ancient, still purring vehicles. Reading this is like a warm, easy bath.
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  • Anamaria
    January 1, 1970
    Taka taka is exactly how a Cuban would describe the sounds a car makes. It's the little things.
  • Danielle
    January 1, 1970
    A book that is an immersive, sensory experience.
  • Marissa Elera
    January 1, 1970
    This trip through Cuba is so richly told through both text and illustration that I can feel the warmth and sounds all around me. A wonderful tour. Brava/Bravo!
  • Amy
    January 1, 1970
    First, let me say that author, Engle, tells a great tale. Illustrator, Mike Curato also shows a great story with his bold and beautiful pictures. Unfortunately, I don't see them telling the same exact story. For example, on the page with the boy holding the wrench, the words say "... A twist here. A tightening there. Move this. Hold that. Try one way, then the other ..." It would have been better if Curato could have shown the boy actually using the wrench on something. On another page is a pict First, let me say that author, Engle, tells a great tale. Illustrator, Mike Curato also shows a great story with his bold and beautiful pictures. Unfortunately, I don't see them telling the same exact story. For example, on the page with the boy holding the wrench, the words say "... A twist here. A tightening there. Move this. Hold that. Try one way, then the other ..." It would have been better if Curato could have shown the boy actually using the wrench on something. On another page is a picture of the boy looking out the window of this big blue car, but the reader doesn't see what the author says we should be seeing -- farms, forests, beaches, and forts.The illustrations were close, but never really showcased what the author conveyed through words.
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  • Justina Wemhoff
    January 1, 1970
    The text connection that I am focusing for this book is Text to Self. My oldest brother has a 90's Grand Prix. Every single time the boy and his father worked hard to fix Cara Cara, I thought of my brother's car. His car constantly has something new wrong with it, the passenger door won't open, the doors' locking mechanism stopped working, the gas gage is way off, the visor mirror fell off, etc. Every time that happens, my brother has a new and creative way to fix it ranging form duct tape to wi The text connection that I am focusing for this book is Text to Self. My oldest brother has a 90's Grand Prix. Every single time the boy and his father worked hard to fix Cara Cara, I thought of my brother's car. His car constantly has something new wrong with it, the passenger door won't open, the doors' locking mechanism stopped working, the gas gage is way off, the visor mirror fell off, etc. Every time that happens, my brother has a new and creative way to fix it ranging form duct tape to wires. The boy and his father in the story had to try different tools to fix their car up and running. They, like my brother, refuse to give up on the car. For this story, I also wanted to make a Text to Text comparison. This books writing style and text reminded me of all the picture books with the cows, for ex. Click, Clack, Moo by Doreen Cronin. Both stories have rhyming words and rhyming sounds. Both extensively use onomatopoeias to really draw readers in as well as some silly goofy words and sounds. A text to self connection I have to the story is when the boy talks about being cramped in the car with his family and neighbors. I have experienced a cramp car many a time, and it usually makes for an uncomfortable trip. However, the boy had great enthusiasm for the trip and seeing his family, so he didn't let a cramped car get him down. I, too, have been more than happy to deal with a lengthy trip when I am headed on a trip or to visit family.
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  • Robin Loughlin
    January 1, 1970
    All the Way to Havana is a bright and vibrant book, full of beautiful illustrations and adventure. It is written from a young boy's perspective, and shows an appreciation of traveling from a small village to a large city in a car filled with family, to celebrate the birth of a new baby. In reading the book, I was surprised at the colorful, older cars that filled the streets, as they drove, since it seemed a more modern book. But the Author and Illustrator notes at the end of the book explained t All the Way to Havana is a bright and vibrant book, full of beautiful illustrations and adventure. It is written from a young boy's perspective, and shows an appreciation of traveling from a small village to a large city in a car filled with family, to celebrate the birth of a new baby. In reading the book, I was surprised at the colorful, older cars that filled the streets, as they drove, since it seemed a more modern book. But the Author and Illustrator notes at the end of the book explained that, and were quite an asset to the story. I think they should both be read along with the story, and it becomes somewhat of a geography lesson as well as a beautiful picture book.
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  • Mary Ann
    January 1, 1970
    I love how Margarita Engle so completely capture's a young child's point of view, especially all of the different car sounds: “Some of this island’s old cars purr like kittens, but ours is so tired that she just chatters like a busy chicken-cara cara, cara cara, cluck, cluck, cluck. Today Cara Cara sounds like a tiny baby chick, pio pio, pio pio, pfffft." But most of all, I love how father and son work together to fix the car: "No luck, but we keep trying and trying, even though all the silly no I love how Margarita Engle so completely capture's a young child's point of view, especially all of the different car sounds: “Some of this island’s old cars purr like kittens, but ours is so tired that she just chatters like a busy chicken-cara cara, cara cara, cluck, cluck, cluck. Today Cara Cara sounds like a tiny baby chick, pio pio, pio pio, pfffft." But most of all, I love how father and son work together to fix the car: "No luck, but we keep trying and trying, even though all the silly noises are still a mystery unsolved. / We don't give up. We experiment. We invent!"
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  • Frances Hotchkiss
    January 1, 1970
    All the Way to Havana was a complete joy to read! The exquisite, colorful, realistic illustrations made me feel as if I were there. I could sense the joy, excitement and wonder of the boy and his family as they traveled to the big city to visit the new baby cousin. The sound effects and the close relationship the boy and is father have as they work on Cara Cara is very special. And all of the beautiful classic cars will be a big hit for young and old alike! This is a complete work of art!!!
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  • Julie Kirchner
    January 1, 1970
    I have a great fascination with Cuba and I would love to visit the country. My brother visited a short while after President Obama allowed travel there. The photos he shared are very similar to Mike Curato’s illustrations. The idea of having to make do with what you have and being creative and industrious enough to do so is amazing! Loved all the old cars with he mix and not match parts! Great story using a lyrical poem with lovely illustrations.
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  • June
    January 1, 1970
    Just read this to a PreK 4 class, that had requested a family story time. Some of the children were talking about cousins, so I chose this story of a boy who helps his father with fixing their old car so they can travel to a cousin's zero year birthday party. Having a zero year birthday raised some questions, but having the car sounds seemed to keep their attention.
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  • Shauna Yusko
    January 1, 1970
    An interesting look at a country we have lots of questions about.
  • Peacegal
    January 1, 1970
    Striking, detailed, and realistic illustrations are the highlight of this simple story of a Cuban family making a trip to celebrate the birth of a new family member. I have a soft spot for 1950s cars; I loved looking at them in the illustrations and I'm sure many kids will enjoy them too, in all of their finned, chromed glory.
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  • Jennifer Strong
    January 1, 1970
    Lots of text. Pictures were pretty but also a little boring.
  • Emily Scheinman
    January 1, 1970
    I love this book and I also love both the author and illustrator's note in the back.
  • Carrie
    January 1, 1970
    All the Way to Havana brings a boy's experience in Cuba to life as he rides through town with family in a 1954 Chevy 210. Other beautiful, brightly colored classic cars line the streets in this beautiful picture book. Onomatopoeia provides opportunities for children to participate in the reading. Great book!
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  • Lynn
    January 1, 1970
    I know someone born in Cuba around 1956, who escaped from Cuba with his sister and mother carrying only a suitcase (their father, a physician, was detained, but much later also escaped). An older brother was previously sent to Miami via the Peter Pan Project to avoid conscription into Castro's military. Miraculously, there were all reunited a number of years later.I thought about this family as I read this book, thinking this could have been them before they left the country! I am anxious to sho I know someone born in Cuba around 1956, who escaped from Cuba with his sister and mother carrying only a suitcase (their father, a physician, was detained, but much later also escaped). An older brother was previously sent to Miami via the Peter Pan Project to avoid conscription into Castro's military. Miraculously, there were all reunited a number of years later.I thought about this family as I read this book, thinking this could have been them before they left the country! I am anxious to show him this book and hear his stories of this time. His mother will not even discuss this part of their life.Thus, at first I thought this book is making a difficult era look fun and exciting, but this takes place just before Castro took over. Also, this is told through the eyes of a child, where a trip to the city would certainly be an adventure, and I appreciated the pride he took in helping his dad fix anything. After I read the Author's Note, I have a better understanding of her purpose.The full-color illustrations are realistic in shape and form, but I wonder about the reality of the difficulties and poverty of the island (which may have not come until the 60's-70's). The cars all look in grand shape. The text tells of the repairs the car needs, yet it looks shiny and new. The endpapers will be a delight to car fans, don't miss them!I can envision several ways to use this book: for those interested in cars of the 50's; for younger readers to enjoy the many sounds of the trip; or as introduction to a study of Cuba.
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  • Debrarian
    January 1, 1970
    Great endpapers of old cars.Great title page: double-page spread looking out an old dash. Apt poetic comparison of a happy old engine clucking like a hen.Monumental-type illustrations of strong, happy looking people of many colors against the warmly glowing backdrop of Cuba's back roads and Havana's streets of lively urban decay. The story itself, a poem paean to old cars and the ingenuity that keeps them running, clunked along a bit for me - seemed like it was trying both to be a sensory hymn t Great endpapers of old cars.Great title page: double-page spread looking out an old dash. Apt poetic comparison of a happy old engine clucking like a hen.Monumental-type illustrations of strong, happy looking people of many colors against the warmly glowing backdrop of Cuba's back roads and Havana's streets of lively urban decay. The story itself, a poem paean to old cars and the ingenuity that keeps them running, clunked along a bit for me - seemed like it was trying both to be a sensory hymn to the old cars and also a slightly plot-driven story of visiting family. The plot part was very thin.For the most part the illustrations brought the words to life, as well as adding wonderful additional details of daily life (barbers and grocers glimpsed through the car window, eg.), but occasionally I wished for the pictures to clarify some text the reader might not get: for example, the referenced torn seats of the cars, or the mention of driving by "forts."Useful and interesting author and illustrator notes about the elderly cars of Cuba.
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  • Jillian
    January 1, 1970
    The text was fine - full of fun car noises to imitate! - but the illustrations are the real gem in this book. The ancient cars are all lovingly drawn, right down to the cracked windows and steering wheels cannibalized from other vehicles. It gives a really neat look into the ingenuity of the Cuban people, who've had to keep these cars limping along in the face of trade embargoes and economic sanctions.
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  • Beverly
    January 1, 1970
    Car-loving kids will really like this family's journey to Havana in their classic Chevy. The will also like the drawings of 24 classic cars and trucks on the end papers. The illustrator's mixed media illustrations, which include pencil acrylic and photo overlay and other mixed media, capture the excitement in the faces of the traveling family, and the beauty and bright colors of all the classic cars.
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  • Earl
    January 1, 1970
    Lyrical text and beautiful illustrations- one of my Caldecott contenders for the year, in fact!- will take readers along for the ride as a family drives across Cuba in a car that despite having seen better days has been taken care of over the years to have it do what's it supposed to do. I love when picture books seems to only be one thing but actually has multiple layers written into it.
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  • Nikki
    January 1, 1970
    The rhythmic text makes the sounds of Cuba and old cars come alive, this is a book that is meant to be read out loud and would even be a great way to introduce the history of Cuba to older elementary school students.
  • Tina
    January 1, 1970
    The illustrations in this work make one feel like they are in Havana, or at least what those of us who have yet to visit believe it looks like. A story about family, it is also a story about cars and working with papa to keep abuelo's car running so one day it may be passed down again.
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  • Erica
    January 1, 1970
    I would like to know more about Cuba, and I'd like to hear about it from someone who really knows the place. Based on this book, I do not get the impression that Margarita Engle is that person. I've read other books by her, and wasn't struck in this particular way...they seemed better. ...Why did this book seem so detached and superficial? I think using the cars as a metaphor would have been s stroke of genius. But they aren't used as a metaphor for anything other than car maintenance. If there I would like to know more about Cuba, and I'd like to hear about it from someone who really knows the place. Based on this book, I do not get the impression that Margarita Engle is that person. I've read other books by her, and wasn't struck in this particular way...they seemed better. ...Why did this book seem so detached and superficial? I think using the cars as a metaphor would have been s stroke of genius. But they aren't used as a metaphor for anything other than car maintenance. If there had been any references to schools, hospitals, music, architecture, fashion, relationships, farms, work, ANYTHING else, I think it could have been profound. Instead, the book is not only entirely about a car, it only refers to cars ("We don't give up. We experiment. We invent. A twist here. A tightening there. Move this. Hold that." - all about the car), and only occasionally to the most superficial, easily-observed nature: "...people lean over crumbling balconies as laundry dances and a sea breeze sings." First of all, crumbling balconies seem dangerous! And the laundry is dancing on the supposedly-crumbling balconies in the image, so that seems dangerous, too. It mentions a sea breeze, but the sea is not visible in this particular image, nor is it seen much at all in this book, and when shown, the sea appears static, without a breeze.In fact, all the images look static, and the people seem generic, in a school-textbook way. Even the cars, which were the focus of the book, were made to look superficially neat & tidy, even when the whole idea is that they are 50+ years old, and exposed to salt air and roads with potholes...they should look a little more distressed, shouldn't they? Meanwhile, if Cuban people have become accustomed to using creativity, perseverance, patience, hopefulness because of the lack of access to new equipment, materials, and tools, then I need the author & illustrator to point to at least one thing other than the cars that proves their point. Otherwise, the cars are focused on to the point of fetishizing them, which really seems unfair. Frankly, I believe the point about Cuban people learning creativity, resilience, etc. - but I'm not sure the author & illustrator do. Otherwise why would it be so hard for them to find other examples? I don't like how smooth the cars & people look, they seem fake. But most fake of all is the complete absence of two highly relevant terms; "trade embargo" and "economic sanctions." Because saying "Due to a complex historical situation..." and "Despite more than half a century of poverty and hardship..." leaves young readers without the basic minimum knowledge about which all Cuban people (in Cuba or in the U.S.) must be extremely well aware. This book makes me think that Cuban Americans should let Cubans tell us about their country.The cars are cute, and all the little transportation enthusiasts won't really care that this takes place on an island nation that has been bullied and shamed and neglected by its largest neighbor.
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  • Stephanie Bange
    January 1, 1970
    Margarita Engle and Mike Curato have teamed up to give readers a taste of what it would be like to be in Cuba today. In this tender story, a young boy and his family take a car trip from their home in the country to his aunt's house in the city to celebrate the birth of a new cousin. The car is central to the story, as it's a ramshackle 1954 Chevrolet 210 that has been in his family for decades, held together with ingenuity, spare car parts and all kinds of "band-aids".Engle makes great use of o Margarita Engle and Mike Curato have teamed up to give readers a taste of what it would be like to be in Cuba today. In this tender story, a young boy and his family take a car trip from their home in the country to his aunt's house in the city to celebrate the birth of a new cousin. The car is central to the story, as it's a ramshackle 1954 Chevrolet 210 that has been in his family for decades, held together with ingenuity, spare car parts and all kinds of "band-aids".Engle makes great use of onomatopoeia throughout the trip as the car "clunk clunks" when it should "cluck, cluck", yet purrs "cara cara", glides "taka taka" and "zoom zooms" down the highway. She uses descriptive language to describe the condition of roads, buildings, and life in Cuba today. Matched with the details in Curato's outstanding mixed media artwork, Cuba becomes alive to to us here in the U.S. The endsheets are a 1950's classic car-lover's dream -- outlines of 24 different model cars that Curato probably saw on the roads of Cuba today. On the outside, Cara Cara is a shiny, sleek classic car. A peek under the hood, however, reveals a rusty engine that has all kinds of repairs that have been Jerry-rigged using whatever materials are at hand.Friendships and family bonds are strong and palpable in both the text and illustrations. My favorite illustration is probably the view of the highway along the curved road approaching downtown Havana. The beautiful blue sky, the greenness of the ocean, the colorful cars. This could be paradise... Be sure to check out the cover of the book under the jacket -- for a sweet view of the 210!Perfect to include in a unit on Cuba, family, and transportation. Or, just a treat for a quick "getaway" for yourself!Highly recommended for grades Pres-6.
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  • Terri
    January 1, 1970
    I read "All the Way to Havana," written by Margarita Engle and illustrated by Margarita Engle, as a possible 2018 Caldecott contender. I give this a 5 for text and a 5 for illustrations (a definite Caldecott contender!). "All the Way to Havana" appears on several "best" lists for 2017 (ie; KirkusCuban American, Engle continues to pay homage to her homeland in this beautiful picture book. Her she focuses on travel in Cuba via cars mostly produced before the late 1950's. In so doing, she attests t I read "All the Way to Havana," written by Margarita Engle and illustrated by Margarita Engle, as a possible 2018 Caldecott contender. I give this a 5 for text and a 5 for illustrations (a definite Caldecott contender!). "All the Way to Havana" appears on several "best" lists for 2017 (ie; KirkusCuban American, Engle continues to pay homage to her homeland in this beautiful picture book. Her she focuses on travel in Cuba via cars mostly produced before the late 1950's. In so doing, she attests to the ingenuity and perseverance of those who have kept these cars alive for decades. The text is filled with alliteration ("beside farms, forests, beaches, and forts") and onomatopoeia ("pio pio, pio pio, pfffft"), simile ("Some of the Island's old cars purr like kittens, but ours is so tired that she just chatters like a busy chicken.") and strong, lovely word choice. The beauty of the colorful landscape and its people come to life for the reader via both text and illustration.Curato's mixed media illustrations of pencil, acrylic, paper, photo overlay, and digital color are realistic, vibrant, crystal clear, and beautiful. Beginning with the end papers that include drawings of vintage cars and trucks, the book is filled joyous color!I loved every inch of this book! Highly recommended! (This would be an excellent read aloud in the classroom when discussing poetic devices, geography, the Cuban culture, Cuban history, etc.)
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  • Barbara
    January 1, 1970
    Wonderfully detailed illustrations, created with pencil acrylic, paper, photo overlay, and digital color in Adobe Photoshop complement text that takes readers into the city streets of Havana and the rural heartland of Cuba. A young boy and his family set off for the city to celebrate the birthday of a young relative, but the vintage car in which they will be traveling needs some tender loving care before they set out. Relying onrich description and onomatopoeia, the text will make readers feel t Wonderfully detailed illustrations, created with pencil acrylic, paper, photo overlay, and digital color in Adobe Photoshop complement text that takes readers into the city streets of Havana and the rural heartland of Cuba. A young boy and his family set off for the city to celebrate the birthday of a young relative, but the vintage car in which they will be traveling needs some tender loving care before they set out. Relying onrich description and onomatopoeia, the text will make readers feel that they are inside the car the family affectionately calls Cara Cara. Although I have never been to Cuba, the text conjures up what I imagine to be its sights, sounds, and flavors while also honoring the family's ingenuity in making their car run. She might be old, but she still runs just fine. Back matter includes a note from the author and one from the illustrator that explain the prevalence of older model cars on the island and how the cars often contain parts that come from other vehicles. I love the idea of making something old new again and not simply trading for a new car every five years as we seem to do in this country, and I know young automobile fans will enjoy the end papers with various cars from the 1950s and even earlier. I can still remember my father's beloved Chevy that looked a lot like Cara Cara. This delightful slice of life story touched me and sparked a lot of memories of my own, even though I grew up in East Tennessee, far from this book's setting.
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  • Susan
    January 1, 1970
    This book tells the story of a young Cuban boy, his family and some neighbors and their 30 mile journey to Havana to welcome the boy’s new cousin to the world. The seven happily squeeze into the family sedan, Cara Cara, which had originally belonged to the boy’s grandpa. It’s a conglomeration of parts pieced together to keep the fifty year old car running, with a little ingenuity from the boy and his father. We see the pride and joy on their faces as they arrive in Havana with their gift and the This book tells the story of a young Cuban boy, his family and some neighbors and their 30 mile journey to Havana to welcome the boy’s new cousin to the world. The seven happily squeeze into the family sedan, Cara Cara, which had originally belonged to the boy’s grandpa. It’s a conglomeration of parts pieced together to keep the fifty year old car running, with a little ingenuity from the boy and his father. We see the pride and joy on their faces as they arrive in Havana with their gift and their cake for the new cousin. The little boy sees so many cars of all shapes and colors as they drive through Havana, but proudly know his Cara Cara is the best! This story allows us to see and to gain an understanding of the strong family ties and pride in a Cuban family, as well as the determination of the Cuban people to make the best of what they have. The illustrations are by one of my favorite illustrator’s, Mike Curato. He traveled to Cuba and took the same 30 mile hot and dusty ride in a 1954 Chevy that the young boy and his family experience in the story. From this, he created the illustrations using the textures from photographs he took along the way, along with pencil drawings and paintings. You’ll be transported to this beautiful island country as you imagine the warmth and love in a day in the life of a Cuban family. I highly recommend All the Way to Havana.
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