Thursday, October 21, 2010

Post #4 Multicultural Book

Too Many Tamales
Author: Gary Soto
Illustrator: Ed Martinez
ISBN: 0698114124

        This weeks blog is on a multicultural book. A multicultural book is literature that appears in different genres which present a multiple perspective about the lives, culture, and contributions of each cultural group to American society.

        I found it very hard to find the "perfect" book to write about. While looking through the books at the local library, I came across a book that I knew would be the book I was going to write about. I was very intrigued by the cover of the book. The picture on the cover is of 4 children looking at a plate of food. The look on their faces is of puzzlement and fear. This picture led me to read this book right where I was standing. I knew after I read this story, that I found the "perfect" book.

       Too Many Tamales by Gary Soto is about a young girl named Maria who is helping her Mother prepare the traditional dish tamales for Christmas dinner. Maria wanting to be just like her Mother, is wearing her Mother's apron, perfume, and lipstick and helping out in the kitchen just like a grown up. When Maria's Mother takes off her diamond ring, she can not resist the temptation of puttingon the ring and being just like her Mom. It isn't until after she helps kneading the masa that the ring is missing. Maria fears the ring is lost in the cooked tamales.
       With the help of her cousins, they come up with a plan to eat all the tamales to find the missing ring. When all the tamales are eaten, they discover that the ring was not in the tamales, and cousin Danny thinks he may have eaten the ring by accident when he swallowed something hard. Upset, Maria goes to her Mother to confess what she has done, only to discover that her Mother is wearing the ring.

      This story brought back many memories of myself when I was young and always trying to do what my Mother was doing when she was getting ready to go out, cleaning the house, or talking with her friends. I would manage to sneak in a few minutes of watching her before I made my move onto something that was hers, or making a statement into the conversation. When I would do one of these things, she would look at me and smile, and let me continue exploring into her world. Even now I stop myself when I am doing something just like my Mother (i.e. the way I do the laundry, or how I get myself ready when I am going out for the evening).  I even find myself laughing the way she does when she laughs really hard.

      Though the book is about the Hispanic traditions, it is not the main focus of the story. Gary Soto does a great job in reflecting on the love a young girl has for her Mother and the love the family has for each other. It is a wonderful story and the illustrations by Ed Martinez, celebrate the Hispanic culture by the use of color and, he emphasizes the expressions on the children's faces for every emotion they were feeling.

      I added this book to my collection of Children's book. I would love to read this book to my classroom around the Holiday's when the focus will be on Celebrating Differences. I would recommend this book to everyone.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Kimberly-

    I read this book to my first grade class a couple of years ago and we all loved it! It is an enjoyable story that children of any ethnicity can make connections to. I liked reading how you relate yourself as a child to the girl in the story. I find that when we can relate literature to our own memories it makes the experience even more of a pleasure!