Dec 16, 2011
Too Many Tamales
Too Many Tamales by Gary Soto
Illustrated by Ed Martinez
Published by The Putnam Publish Group
Maria is feeling grown-up. It's Christmas and she's in the kitchen wearing her mother's apron and helping her knead the masa to make tamales. She was even allowed to wear her mother's lipstick and perfume. But the one thing she still wishes to wear is her mother's diamond ring. Her mom had set it on the counter while she kneaded the dough and when she left the kitchen to answer the phone, "Maria couldn't help herself." She grabbed the ring and put it on her thumb. She continued kneading the masa, seeing how the ring "disappeared, then reappeared in the sticky glob of dough."
The tamales where done and Maria's extended family arrives to celebrate Christmas. While Maria is playing with her cousins, she realizes she no longer has the ring. It has to be inside one of the tamales! There is only one way to find it before Maria's mom notices the ring is missing: the kids will have to eat all the tamales or Maria will have to fess up.
Too Many Tamales is a wonderful read aloud to share with the family. The story is entertaining and the theme of honesty and coming clean, will resonate with a lot of young readers. Aside from all that, Too Many Tamales is about family and traditions. It's warm illustrations help create the feeling of a family sharing and the facial expressions of the children in the book will have some smiling all the way to the kitchen.