a recipe that does NOT lead to disaster


30 days of pbDay Five: The Cazuela That the Farm Maiden Stirred             

By Samantha R. Vamos , Illustrated by Rafael López

Charlesbridge, 2011


When a farm girl starts cooking, all the animals want to help. The cow contributes milk, the hen offers eggs, and even the duck makes a special trip to the market. Key English words change to Spanish as the story builds to a delicious ending. –publisher’s comments

You’ll hear this book introduced as a riff on The House that Jack Built, which will appeal to plenty. But there is the added enticement of bright, colorful illustrations and the twist of weaving English into the Spanish wordplay.  The cooperative nature of the story and its construction guarantee this a delightful departure as well. A nice ag-friendly neighbor to the urban Housing in Jack’s world.

cazuelaLearning vocabulary and practicing vocabulary in a playful book constructed from accumulating images and rhyme means that 20 minutes for reading is not, in fact, a chore. Add Rafael López’s acrylics on grained wood illustrations and the 20 minutes will be met via an accumulation of re-reads. You can celebrate with Arroz con leche (rice pudding), the recipe is in the back, right before the glossary (with pronunciations).CazuelaFarmMaidenStirred_spread


Full of vibrance, energy and texture in the text and illustrations, The Cazuela That the Farm Maiden Stirred is an easy recommendation.


Samantha Vamos: is from the East Coast, studied Law at Georgetown a practiced in Washington, D.C. and Chicago until her family moved to the Pacific Northwest. “Writing has always been a passion. I’ve been writing stories for years and publishing my writing was my greatest dream. I was most influenced to write by my mother.” She written these other stories for children: Before You Were Here, Mi Amor (Viking, 2009); ALPHABET TRUCKS (Charlesbridge, 2013) and its follow-up ALPHABET TRAINS (Charlesbridge, 2015). Vamos’ site includes her favorite books (grown-up ones & children’s), be sure to check that out.

Rafael López “The work of Rafael López is a fusion of strong graphic style and magical symbolism. Growing up in Mexico City he was immersed in the rich cultural heritage and native color of street life. Influenced by Mexican surrealism, dichos and myths he developed a style with roots in these traditions.  His illustrations for Book Fiesta! [(Rayo, 2009)]written by Pat Mora were the recipient of the 2010 Pura Belpré Illustrator Award. […]His children’s books have also won 2 Americas Awards and a Pura Belpré Honor.”  His illustrator work outside of children’s illustration is not only impressive but inspiring—be sure to check out his page.

Yum! MMMM! Que Rico!: Americas’ Sproutings by Pat Mora (Lee&Low, 2012)Me Llamo Celia/My Name Is Celia: La Vida de Celia Cruz/The Life Of Celia Cruz by Monica Brown (Rising Moon Books, 2004);Tito Puente, Mambo King/Tito Puente, Rey del Mambo by Monica Brown (Rayo, 2013); and Our California by Pam Muñoz Ryan,(Charlesbridge, 2008)

 {images belong to Rafael López}


2 Comments Add yours

  1. Just discovered this lovely review, thank you.

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