Holy Squawkamole! Little Red Hen Makes Guacamole by Susan Wood and Laura Gonzalez is an updated version of the old "Little Red Hen" story in which nobody will help the Little Red Hen gather ingredients and cook. In Holy Squawkamole! she's making guacamole instead of baking bread. She asks Coati, who is up in the trees when she goes to the avocado grove, to help her pick the avocados she needs for her guacamole. Coati says no.
"I'm hanging out. But I'll help eat it when it's done, gallinita roja. Nothing beats a tasty guacamole."
"Then I'll gather the avocados myself," said Little Red Hen. And she did.
Similarly, she asks the snake to help her pick tomatoes, the armadillo to help her pull onions, and the iguana to help her snip cilantro from the garden. All turn her down and none will help her do the cooking, either. So she does all the work of harvesting and cooking, and at the end she adds a special ingredient. When the guacamole is done, everyone is happy to help her eat it and they all choose a different way to eat it -- in a taco or a burrito, rolled into a tortilla, or straight. But, they get a surprise. The special ingredient she added was a hot pepper and the guacamole is super spicy.
Suddenly they stopped chewing.
They huffed and puffed.
They winced and wheezed.
They sweated and slobbered.
The Little Red Hen confesses to having added a surprise ingredient, but agrees that nothing beats a tasty guacamole and they all finish it up.
The story is followed by a two-page spread entitled, "The Story of Guacamole" that tells how guacamole (then known as ahuacamolli, or "avocado sauce") was created in Mexico, in the 1300s, and brought back to Europe by Spaniards in the 1500s. It talks about the fact that guacamole recipes have a regional flair, depending on the country in which the guacamole is made, and about National Guacamole Day in America. I didn't realize there was a National Guacamole Day. I must plan for this.
There's also a guacamole recipe with helpful hints (how to choose a perfect avocado, how to keep your guacamole from turning brown, ideas for extra ingredients to add). The following three pages contain an illustrated glossary of terms used in the book. "Gallinita" is Spanish for "little hen", for example, and "roja" means red, so when Coati calls the hen "gallinita roja", he's calling her "Little Red Hen".
Recommended - I didn't give this my highest recommendation because I thought making the guacamole hot but still sharing was a little weaker than the lesson in the original "Little Red Hen" story, in which the other animals are taught that if you're not willing to help out with the work involved in harvesting and cooking, you don't get to share when it's time to eat. But, I love Holy Squawkamole! anyway. I love it for all the extra bits of information. And, I'm crazy about the illustrations. They're both vibrant in color and give the illusion of action. And, it's true that nothing beats a tasty guacamole.
I received a copy of Holy Squawkamole! from Sterling Children's Books for review and it's definitely one of my favorite books of this lot to look at. I adore the illustrations. Many thanks to Sterling!
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