The Cazuela That the Farm Maiden Stirred by Samantha R. Vamos
Illustrated by Rafael Lopez
The farm maiden is stirring a pot to make rice pudding, arroz con leche. She needs many ingredients and the farm animals are coming to help her. The goat churns the cream to make the butter, the cow gives her milk, the duck buys the sugar at the supermarket, the donkey plucked the lime that the hen grated and the farmer planted the rice. Then they all had a party while the arroz con leche cooked in the pot, and since they were all distracted, they forgot to stir it and it almost boiled over. They all rushed to help the farm maiden and stirred together until the pudding was ready.
The Cazuela That the Farm Maiden Stirred is a cumulative tale on the footsteps of "The House That Jack Built." The nouns that were first introduced in English, appear the second time around in Spanish; the butter becomes mantequilla, the pot is a cazuela, the cow is a vaca, the farm maiden is a campesina. This book is a joyful celebration of bilingualism. The way the second language is introduced makes it accessible to Spanish language learners as well as monolingual readers. As the story builds, so does the musicality of the language until it boils over, just like the arroz con leche, into a delightful fiesta. The vibrant colors of Lopez's desert pair wonderfully with the joy of Vamos's tale. At the end of the book, there's a recipe for Arroz con Leche as well a glossary. This is one of my favorite bilingual books.