Monday, June 25, 2012


Soto, Gary. Too Many Tamales. Illus. Ed Martinez. New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1993. ISBN 0-399-22146-8. $14.95. Grades 1-3.

Award-winning author Gary Soto has written dozens of books for young readers, and Too Many Tamales is another in his catalog of tales that illuminate Mexican American culture. Too Many Tamales tells the story of Maria’s Christmas tragedy-turned-comedy when she thinks she has lost her mother’s diamond ring in the masa of the tamales. It takes the reader into the home of Maria and her beautiful and loving family. We also become familiar with her cousins Dolores, Teresa, and Danny.

The book is beautifully written in English with a few interjections in Spanish. The words in Spanish are italicized and are simple words such as niña and masa. The print is easily readable, and the pictures add to the comprehension for readers who struggle with the text alone. Too Many Tamales contains dialogue and many descriptive adjectives. It is easy to relate to this book, and I think children of every age would enjoy it. I especially recommend Too Many Tamales for a first-grade read-aloud.

Reviewed by Chelsea Benson

This review is part of the Special Section: Books in Spanish, featuring a collaboration with Policy and Language Studies students at San Diego State University. Read more about it here.

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