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Fiesta Fiasco

Last updated Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Author: Ann Whitford Paul
Illustrator: Ethan Long
Date of Publication: 2007
ISBN: 082342037X
Grade Level: 1st    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: May 2009

Synopsis: It's Culebra the snake's birthday, and friends Conejo (rabbit), Tortuga (tortoise) and Iguana are gift shopping for his party. But finding perfect regalos causes some contention. Self-described "gift expert" Conejo convinces the other two he knows best, despite their doubts about giving a snake a hat, shirt, and pants. As Culebra opens his presents, it's soon apparent they're suspiciously perfect for Conejo, causing a little gift rift. But Conejo makes the presents right and amends with friends, and the festive celebration continues, replete with delicious torta. The characters of Mañana and Iguana return in this humorous, entertaining tale that also introduces the Spanish words for some familiar, everyday objects and events. Vibrant, patterned gouache-pencil illustrations, in a warm, sunny palette, depict the desert setting and expressive, cartoon-like animals with witty details, including whimsical takes on party games, like "Musical Rocks." The Spanish words are well incorporated and conveyed through context, repetition, and art, and a glossary with pronunciations is included. Fiesta Fiasco is a fun story with a message about giving gifts with others in mind.

Note to readers:
•  Note: The glossary is behind the title page.
•  Vocabulary: see glossary.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  Who do you think the party is for?
•  What happens at a party?
•  What is a fiasco?

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  What’s the best gift you’ve ever received?
•  Do you think Culebra can really grow arms and legs?
•  Why is Conejo so bossy?
•  Why did they ask Conejo to leave?
•  Why does he return the present?
•  What games do you play at parties?

Craft ideas:
•  Make a Birthday Sombrero: Using the template, cut out the shape of the sombrero and the strips for decoration. Decorate the sombrero with scraps of paper or with crayons. Cut out long strips of paper for a headband. Glue the sombrero to the middle of the headband. Fit the headband around the head and make alternate cuts on the ends to secure
•  Make a Pop Up Birthday/Mother’s Day Card: Take a piece of construction paper and cut in half “hamburger” style. Fold each piece in half to form a card shape. Take one of the halves and make 2 cuts two inches apart on the folded edge. Fold down to create a crease. Open the half and push out the cuts to form a “table”. Glue this half to the other half of construction paper. (For fun, have the kids share their paper to they glue different colors together) You can cut the “table” half slightly smaller than the other half to create a colorful edge. Cut out a birthday cake shape, party hat shape, happy face shape or any other “pop up” you want and glue to the side of the “table”.
•  Make a Party Hat to Celebrate Reading to Kid's 10th Anniversary: Take construction paper and make into a cone shape by taking the two ends and slight rolling it into an ice cream cone. Make sure to leave a small hole at the top, so streamers can be inserted. Streamers can be made by cutting strips of construction paper and rolling them with a pencil to make a curl. Glue or tape streamers to the top of the hat. Then, cut out shapes or draw to decorate party hat. Also, cut out the numbers 1 and 0 to be glued onto the hat. Lastly, poke holes onto the bottom sides of the hat and string yarn through it.

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don’t have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!