Mamá has always been proud of her loving daughters, even when they’ve grown.
Rosa, her husband and their three children live “in a little house just down the street from her mother.” Sister Blanca lives alone “in a little house just up the street from her mother.” One year, each sister plants a garden, growing tomatoes, corn and “good hot chiles.” Each woman gives their mother some and tells her that she is going to give her sister half her yield—but: “Don’t say a word, Mamá!” In the night, each unknowingly passes the other with a basketful and leaves it in her sister’s empty kitchen. In the morning, each is astonished at the enormous pile of tomatoes and gives still more to her mother, who accepts them with a shrug: “you can never have too many tomatoes.” This is repeated with the luxuriant crop of corn, but Mamá at last spills the beans—or rather the peppers—as she can’t manage a similar surplus of chiles. Storyteller Hayes uses repetition, parallel structure and short sentences masterfully, unspooling a sweet family tale that never turns saccharine. His own Spanish translation appears alongside the English text. Andrade Valencia contributes highly saturated paintings that combine a folk aesthetic with magical realism, playfully depicting anthropomorphized vegetables marrying and having babies as the sisters marvel at the bounty.
This book overflows with affection—and you can never have too much of that. (Bilingual picture book. 4-7)