Tamalitos: Un poema para cocinar/A Cooking Poem

Overview


In his fourth cooking poem for young children, Jorge Argueta encourages more creativity and fun in the kitchen as he describes how to make tamalitos from corn masa and cheese, wrapped in cornhusks. In simple, poetic language, Argueta shows young cooks how to mix and knead the dough before dropping a spoonful into a cornhusk, wrapping it up and then steaming the little package. He once again makes cooking a full sensory experience, beating on a pot like a drum, dancing the corn dance, delighting in the smell of ...
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Overview


In his fourth cooking poem for young children, Jorge Argueta encourages more creativity and fun in the kitchen as he describes how to make tamalitos from corn masa and cheese, wrapped in cornhusks. In simple, poetic language, Argueta shows young cooks how to mix and knead the dough before dropping a spoonful into a cornhusk, wrapping it up and then steaming the little package. He once again makes cooking a full sensory experience, beating on a pot like a drum, dancing the corn dance, delighting in the smell of corn . . . And at the end, he suggests inviting the whole family to come and enjoy the delicious tamalitos “made of corn with love.” Domi’s vivid paintings, featuring a sister and her little brother making tamalitos together, are a perfect accompaniment to the colorful text.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Argueta’s fourth bilingual “cooking poem” is built around another elementally simple dish: tamalitos, “little tamales” of corn and cheese. The poem unfolds as a recipe, narrated by a boy who is well aware of the importance of corn in his family history: “Our indigenous ancestors ate/ tamalitos made from corn./ It also says in the Popol Vuh,/ the sacred book of the Maya,/ that the first men and women were made of corn.” Bright colors blend like tie-dye in Domi’s naïf watercolors, which alternate between scenes of the boy assembling tamalitos and more esoteric images of celebration. While the soaking, kneading, and steaming of these basic ingredients lacks some of the drama of Argueta’s earlier books, Domi’s paintings communicate plenty of enthusiasm, and readers may feel the pull to “Baila la danza del maíz.” Ages 4–7. (Apr.)
From the Publisher

Praise for Guacamole:
“This fanciful, imaginative narrative is as much poetry as it is a recipe.”
School Library Journal

"A bilingual treat." — Kirkus Reviews

School Library Journal
K-Gr 3—Argueta takes readers on a journey from "the Popol Vuh/the sacred book of the Maya," where it says "that the first men and women were made of corn," to their own kitchens, where "it's very easy to make/corn tamalitos stuffed with cheese." Threads exploring the cultural and historical resonance of corn and masa are woven throughout this free-verse offering. The young narrator mixes his dough, drumming and dancing "the Nahua corn dance/and the Maya corn dance/and the Aztec corn dance/and the powwow dance/and the corn dance/of all the people of corn." Argueta places Spanish and English translations of his lively verse side by side, allowing readers to savor the flow and vitality of both languages. Some younger children might benefit from a little more detail when it comes to cooking tamalitos while nonetheless appreciating the effusive celebration of Latin American culture and cooking. Steps where adult assistance or supervision is required are noted. Domi's vivid, watercolor wash illustrations, full of bold primary and secondary colors, provide an able counterpart to this ode to "these tamalitos made of corn with love.—Ted McCoy, Oakland Public Library, CA
Kirkus Reviews
The latest of Argueta's free-verse recipes is a savory tribute to corn--as ancient a foodstuff as it is delicious. Presented in bilingual passages with the Spanish over the English, his directions begin with an invitation to think about "kernels of corn-- / white, yellow, blue ones, / purple, red and black ones-- / like a rainbow / when it's drizzling." Following references to corn's antiquity, he goes on to describe how to gather the simple ingredients, assemble the tamalitos and cook them, all while dancing "the Maya corn dance / and the Aztec dance / and the powwow dance / and the corn dance / of all the people of corn." Using a high intensity palette, Domi reflects the author's infectious energy in watercolor on wet paper, painting scenes of broadly grinning young cooks capering through cornfields and kitchen, demonstrating how to hold and stuff the corn leaves and then, in the end, chowing down: "Ummmm, ¡qué deliciosos tamalitos, / estos tamalitos de maíz hechos con amor!" Rather than list "oil" and "fresh white cheese" as ingredients, the author could have been more specific, but this is a minor quibble. Steps that require adult assistance are signaled throughout the text with asterisks. Even for novice chefs (and readers) the "Ummmm"s are easily attainable. (Picture book. 4-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781554983001
  • Publisher: Groundwood Books
  • Publication date: 3/26/2013
  • Series: Bilingual Cooking Poems
  • Edition description: Bilingual
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 790,704
  • Age range: 4 - 7 Years
  • Lexile: NPL (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 7.40 (w) x 10.70 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author


Jorge Argueta is a native Salvadoran and Pipil Nahua Indian. He is an award-winning author of picture books and poetry for young children. He lives in San Francisco. Domi’s wonderful illustrations appear in many children’s books, including the Napi titles by Antonio Ramírez as well as The Night the Moon Fell and The Race of Toad and Deer by Pat Mora. She is Mazateca and lives in Oaxaca, Mexico.
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