In this bilingual 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.
The book opens with an homage to corn — white, yellow, blue, purple, red and black. In Maya mythology the first men and women are even said to be made of corn. It has been an important food for people in Central America for centuries, and one of the most delicious things you can make using corn masa and husks are tamalitos, or little tamales.
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, including beating on a pot like a drum, dancing the corn dance, delighting in the smell of corn masa … 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.
Key Text Features
Correlates to the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts:
With prompting and support, describe the relationship between illustrations and the story in which they appear (e.g., what moment in a story an illustration depicts).
Explain how specific aspects of a text's illustrations contribute to what is conveyed by the words in a story (e.g., create mood, emphasize aspects of a character or setting)