The Cazuela That the Farm Maiden Stirred by Samantha R. Vamos, illustrated by Rafael Lopez
This is a fresh, fabulous cumulative tale that is made spicier and more interesting thanks to the Spanish sprinkled liberally throughout. It is the story of a farm maiden who stirred a pot. Once she started stirring, all of the animals wanted to help with what she was cooking. The cow gave milk, the hen gave eggs and zested the lime which was picked by the donkey who was carrying the duck to the market. Eventually everyone is waiting for the treat to be finished until they started playing music and dancing. Then no one was watching or stirring the pot! Thank goodness that they returned just in time to enjoy the arroz con leche that they had all cooked together.
When I read this book to myself silently it really didn’t work, but read aloud it merrily dances along, even with my very imperfect Spanish pronunciation. For classes in our community, the blend of Spanish and English is very desirable. Happily, the Spanish here forms the real foundation of the story rather than just being extra words that are thrown in.
Lopez’s art is so vibrant and warm. The sun shines when you open the book, thanks to the use of a beautiful yellow for the majority of the background. Add to it the purple clouds tinged with red, the orange ground, and the vibrant green of the plants, and you have a book where the colors are filled with heat and spice.
A rollicking picture book that celebrates Spanish and English mixed together sweetly, just like the perfect arroz con leche. Appropriate for ages 3-5, and in language classes for older children.
Reviewed from copy received from Charlesbridge.
Check out the book trailer to get a feel for the book and the illustrations: