Every family recipe has a flavorful story behind it.
When school is cancelled because of snow, young Luz and her grandmother (Abuelita) spend the day together. Abuelita brings a big round box decorated with pink and purple flowers; inside is a suprise, for later. First, it's time to make tamales, with a story about Abuelita's father Diego and his aunt (tía). When Diego was a little boy, he worked on the family farm, with little rest or fun. One winter, the surprise visit of his tía, in a crazy, elaborate hat, lifts his low spirits. She suggests lunch, but finding food is a challenge, especially in the winter. The chickens aren't laying, ice on the river prevents fishing and trees are bare. Tía declares that the chickens need some laughter and, using the magic in her hat, soon gets them cackling and laying. She has similar success with fish and fruit. Back in the present, it's time to open Abuelita's box (the contents of which every reader will know), which provides the perfect sparkle to an already wonderful day. Split pages tell the story in both English (top half) and Spanish (bottom), and Abuelita's recipe is bilingually included as well. Chilton's artful illustrations have the look of paper dolls placed against a soft, old-fashioned backdrop rendered in a muted, comforting palette.
An embarrassment of riches. (Picture book. 7-12)