Lupe and her mamá have spent months planting, weeding, and watering, because there’s nothing better than a salsa garden.
Pungent cilantro, eye-tearing onions, mouth-searing chilis, nostril-flaring garlic, and…oh, no! The biggest, reddest, juiciest tomatoes have disappeared! In their place is a gold chain and medal. The mystery is later solved when Lupe catches a hungry classmate gathering another armload of tomatoes for his family. Antonio agrees to help tend the garden in exchange for the return of his grandmother’s necklace and more tomatoes. A friendship develops between the children, giving Lupe an idea—why doesn’t she invite the neighbors to help with next year’s garden? As the plants thrive so does the camaraderie, and soon the harvest includes the fruit of long-lasting friendships. The author’s strong connection with her Mexican-American culture is evident in the comforting, family-reinforcing narrative. Undercuffler’s engaging and detailed illustrations bring Lupe and her exuberant friends to life. His multiethnic composition of the neighborhood portrays a strong, positive image of all that is good in America. Readers will enjoy discovering the artist sitting among the partygoers. Contreras’ uncomplicated bilingual tale highlights the importance of compassion, cooperation, and companionship. Three simple garden recipes are appended, including one for a pico de gallo salsa.
Un libro muy sabroso. (Picture book. 4-8)