A Piñata in a Pine Tree

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A Piñata in a Pine Tree: A Latino Twelve Days of Christmas

By Pat Mora, illustrated by Magaly Morales

Ages 5 & up, 32 pages

A Piñata in a Pine Tree is a delightful Spanish version of Twelve Days of Christmas. The only English is the first line on each page then the other items are listed in Spanish. Instead of a true love the girl receives gifts from her amiga. The pictures are colorful and capture a festive Christmas mood. The end of the book provides a glossary and pronunciation guide. The author also highlights Latino traditions, such as luminarias (paper lanterns) with a brown bag that has a candle inside. Luminarias symbolize lighting the way for the Christ Child. Another tradition mentioned are various foods eaten, such as pastelitos (small pies or turnovers) and tamales. The illustrator explained that the Twelve days of Christmas begin on December 26 and end on January 6 when Los Reyes Magos (Three Wise Men) visit young children with gifts. I enjoyed this cultural and informative book.

Gifts received:

Uno piñata in a pine tree
Dos pastelitos (two turnovers)
Tres tamalitos (meat wrapped in corn husks)
Cuatro luminarias (four paper lanterns)
Cinco guitarritas (five guitars)
Seis trompos girando (six spinning tops)
Siete burritos bailando (seven dancing donkeys)
Ocho pajaritos serenando (eight serenading birds)
Nueve campanitas sonando (nine bells ringing)
Diez estrellitas saltando (ten stars skipping)
Once lunitas cantando (eleven singing moons)
Doce angelitos celebrando (twelve angels rejoicing) 

Book Review: Gracias The Thanksgiving Turkey

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Gracias The Thanksgiving Turkey

by Joy Cowley, illustrated by Joe Cepeda

Ages 5-7, 32 pages

Miguel desires two things for Thanksgiving: that his papa safety arrives home and his new friend is not eaten. Miguel’s papa is a truck driver and he sends a turkey with a message to fatten her up. Well, Miguel becomes attached to the turkey and names her Gracias and they soon become amigos. He takes Gracias for walks, builds a cage, and doesn’t understand why people keep joking about putting her into an oven. Of course, the family can’t eat a new friend for Thanksgiving and enjoy chicken instead. Miguel has a special place for Gracias after Thanksgiving. If you didn’t already notice, but this book contains Spanish words that are explained in the back. I thought this was a warm and friendly book with a new perspective on a Thanksgiving turkey.