An apocryphal tale of a mustachioed sausage-maker who, with nowhere left to run, disguises himself as a nun.
In this colorful debut picture book, Wilhelms tells the story of a friendly Mexican butcher and his wildly popular sausage. He grows so famous that meat-lovers from all over visit his store to try his gourmet links. He tries his best to keep up with demand, but he takes the process seriously and doesn’t want to skimp on ingredients. His craftsmanship makes an enemy of El Gordo, a local mobster who wants the tasty chorizo on demand—and all to himself. El Gordo sends his underlings to steal the secret recipe, so the sausage man makes a run for it. He finds refuge in a nunnery, in which the sisters have taken a vow of silence. Outfitted in a full habit (though still sporting his signature bushy mustache), he hides among the nuns. Soon, El Gordo’s goons hear of a hairy-faced nun who makes delicious sausage, and they can’t ignore the coincidence. But the silent sisters don’t turn him in; instead, they protect him by also donning mustaches—wide ones, with comical curves that call to mind Salvador Dali’s. The sausage maker revels in his newfound camaraderie among the nuns, who bestow upon him the honorific “Mother Choriza” (after the chorizo sausage). El Gordo’s vain pursuit of the secret recipe, in contrast to Mother Choriza’s magnanimity, will allow parents and teachers to discuss bullying and the folly of selfishness, appropriate topics for preschoolers and elementary school students. The warm-toned illustrations give the Mexican countryside, with its cheery campesinos, a pastoral appeal, and the well-paced plot will keep young readers engaged. The legend also includes a handful of alternate endings for the tale, which may be confusing for some younger readers. Unfortunately, the book takes an unappetizing turn in its final pages, as it’s revealed that the story is branded marketing for a commercial sausage company.
A savory legend that also serves as an advertisement for artisanal sausage.