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Too Many Tamales

Last updated Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Author: Gary Soto
Illustrator: Ed Martinez
Date of Publication: 1993
ISBN: 0399221468
Grade Level: 4th    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Dec. 2003

Synopsis: Snow is falling, preparations for a family feast are underway and the air is thick with excitement. Maria is making tamales, kneading the masa and feeling grown-up. All she wants is a chance to wear her mother's diamond ring, which sparkles temptingly on the kitchen counter.

Discussion topics:
•  How do you make tamales?
•  Have you ever done something bad? How did you handle it afterwards?
•  What would you do if...? (broke a vase, got a bad grade, your best friend lost her school bag)

Craft ideas:
•  Write and illustrate the story from the mother?s perspective
•  Make a tamale with construction paper - fill it with pieces of paper on which you have written something nice about someone.
•  Play "duck, duck, goose" using a fake ring as your prop. Everyone sits in a circle with their hands open behind their back. The leader goes around the circle and places the ring in the hand of the one chosen. That person must instantly jump up and try to catch the leader before the leader sits down in the empty space. Play continues.

*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!