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The Three Little Tamales

Last updated Thursday, May 5, 2016

Author: Eric A. Kimmel
Date of Publication: 2009
ISBN: 0761455191
Grade Level: 2nd    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: May 2016

Synopsis: While the three little tamales cool off on a windowsill, a tortilla rolls by. "You’ll be eaten. You’d better run!" he tells them. And so the tamales jump out the window. The first runs to the prairie and builds a house of sagebrush. The second runs to a cornfield and builds a house of cornstalks. The third runs to the desrt and builds a house of cactus. Then who should come along but Seρor Lobo, the Big Bad Wolf, who plans to blow their houses down!

Note to readers:
•  A glossary of the spanish words is on the title page in the book.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  Have you ever eaten tamales? What are your favorite kind?
•  Do you know how tamales are made?
•  Does the title sound similar to another story?


•  Prairie - a large, mostly flat area of land in North America that has few trees and is covered in grasses
•  Rustling - to make a soft, light sound
•  Bristling - to be covered with something
•  Trotting - to run at a slow, steady pace
•  Budged - to move slightly

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  Who warned the tamales about the wolf?
•  Where did the tamales build their houses?
•  What is the difference between the prairie, corn field, and desert?
•  Which house was the strongest?
•  What happened to the wolf?

Craft ideas:
•  Make a tamale out of paper by folding/gathering the piece of paper like a corn husk. Tie the ends with yarn or string. Draw a face on the tamale. See Pinterest for an example.
•  Draw a picture of your house.
•  Make a wolf puppet. See Pinterest for an example.
•  Make a Father's Day card.
•  If you know someone who is graduating from middle, high school, or college, make them a graduation card.
•  Check out our May craft ideas on Pinterest! https://www.pinterest.com/readingtokids/may-2016-fairytale-crafts/

Special activities:
•  Hold a contest to see who can 'huff' and 'puff' like the wolf, the best.

*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!