It’s Christmas Eve, and you’re invited to a Nochebuena celebration! Follow a family as they prepare to host a night filled with laughter, love, and Latino tradition. Make tasty tamales and hang colorful adornos (decorations) on the walls. Gather to sing festive canciones (songs) while sipping champurrado (hot chocolate). After the midnight feast has been served and the last gifts have been unwrapped, it’s time to cheer, “Feliz Navidad and to all a good night!” Latin American traditions for celebrating Christmas Eve in a text that combines English and Spanish words and follows the rhythm of Clement Moore’s “The Night Before Christmas”.
“My name is Ana. Every year, my family makes tamales for Christmas. This year, I am six, so I get to mix the dough, which is made of cornmeal. My sister Lidia is eight, so she gets to spread the dough on the corn husk leaves. I wish I was eight, so that my hands would be big enough to spread the dough just right–not too thick and not too thin.” And so the years pass, and Ana turns eight, ten, twelve, fourteen, sixteen. But every year, big sister Lidia is always two years older. Ana envies her elder sibling and wishes she could do what Lidia does: put just the right amount of meat inside the tamales and roll them up; steam the tamales without scalding herself with the hot, hot steam; chop and cook the meat for the tamales without cutting or burning her hands. When she turns eighteen, though, Ana knows she will keep making tamales and she will be able to do all of the steps herself in her very own factory. When Christmas comes around, Ana will deliver tamales to all of her customers around the world, in delivery trucks that say “Ana’s Tamales.” And maybe Ana will even let Lidia work for her. Gwendolyn Zepeda’s rhythmic prose is combined with April Ward’s bright illustrations to create an affectionate and amusing story about sibling relationships that introduces an important Hispanic holiday tradition–making tamales!
While three little tamales cool off on a windowsill, a tortilla rollsby. “You’ll be eaten. You’d better run,” he tells them. And so thetamales jump out the window. The first runs to the prairie andbuilds a house of sagebrush. The second runs to a cornfield and builds ahouse of cornstalks. The third runs to the desert and builds a house of cactus.Then who should come along but SeÃ±or Lobo, the Big Bad Wolf, with plans toblow their houses down. Valeria Docampo’s oil-and-pencil illustrations addzest and humor to this rollicking southwestern version of a popular tale.