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Too Many Tamales by Gary Soto

Too Many Tamales (edition 1996)

by Gary Soto

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949969,154 (3.92)None
Title:Too Many Tamales
Authors:Gary Soto
Info:Puffin (1996), Paperback, 32 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:multicultural lit, holidays, family, interaction

Work details

Too Many Tamales by Gary Soto



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Illustrated by Ed Martinez

Maria’s family is getting ready for Christmas. When her mother goes to answer the phone, Maria gives into temptation and tries on her mother’s diamond ring. It’s so sparkly and she feels like a princess! She doesn’t notice that it has slipped off her finger and into the masa she is kneading.

There are several things about this story that I really like. First, the illustrations clearly show that the family lives in a northern climate where it snows for Christmas. Theirs is a lovely home with wreaths in the windows, and a large Christmas tree. Maria’s bedroom is every little girl’s dream. I also like the closeness of the family – not just the immediate nuclear family of Maria and her parents, but the extended family including grandparents, aunt, uncle and cousins. And I like Maria’s character. When she realizes what must have happened to the ring, Maria organizes her cousins to try to solve the problem themselves. She still goes to her mother to confess and she learns her lesson.

It’s a lovely story that parents and children – whether Hispanic or not – will enjoy.
( )
  BookConcierge | Jan 13, 2016 |
Realistic fiction. This is a very good book, it reminds me a lot about my family. The book is about a little girl helping her mom make tamales for their Christmas party. The little girl was super excited to finally be old enough to help with the food making. As they started making the masa for the tamales the little girl puts her moms wedding ring on without her mom noticing. The girl starts making making and forgets all about the ring. Later that night she remembers about the ring but it is no longer on her finger. She thinks it is in one of the tamales. She runs down to tell her mom but then sees the ring on her finger.
  Rsantoyo13 | Nov 25, 2015 |
This was a good book that shows another ethnic group and tells what they eat. Kids can get a sense of their culture. Also, they can see how they relate because of what she did and how she was afraid to tell her mother. ( )
  MicaiahC | Oct 28, 2015 |
Too Many Tamales by Gary Soto is about family and cooking tamales. Maria is helping make tamales for a family get together. Her mother has let her try on her wedding ring but Maria has to promise not to wear it while cooking!

After all the tamales are finished, Maria wants to wear the wedding ring again but it's missing! Assuming the worst, she and the other children set down to eating all the tamales until they find the ring.

You can imagine what happens next. But this story is also about family and it has a happy ending, although one with belly aches for the children.

Ed Martinez's paintings bring the children to life. Their expressions are exactly what you'd expect given the apparent gravity of the situation.

It was recommended to me by my daughter, who read it in school. ( )
  pussreboots | Oct 10, 2015 |
The story reflects how telling the truth is better for Maria that trying to fix the situation herself. It is also informative of the Hispanic culture. In the setting Maria is in the kitchen with her mother helping her mother make tamales for their Christmas holiday. While Maria waits on her favorite cousins to come over, she accidently loses her mother’s diamond ring that her mother took off while cooking and laid on the table. Maria thinks the ring is in the one of the tamales but she does not know which one. The cousins come over and try to help Maria find her mother’s ring by eating all the tamales. Maria does not find the ring but her and her cousins eat too many tamales. She has to tell her mother the truth. The ring is found and Maria learns a valuable lesson about telling the truth just like all children learn.
Personal Reaction
This could be classified as a contemporary fiction also.
Classroom Extension Ideas
1. Ask students to share their heritage if they know it.
2. Get permission to have tamales for a snack in class.
3. Teach about the Spanish language and share some common words and their interpretations. ( )
  Rayma_Powers | Jul 12, 2015 |
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» Add other authors (9 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Gary Sotoprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Martinez, EdIllustratormain authorall editionsconfirmed
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Book description
While preparing dough for her family's Christmas tamales, Maria discovers that she has lost her mother's prized diamond ring somewhere in the dough and sets out to eat her way through the many finished tamales to find the missing ring.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0698114124, Paperback)

Maria is feeling so grown-up, wearing her mother's apron and helping to knead the masa for the Christmas corn tamales. Her mother even let Maria wear some perfume and lipstick for the big family celebration that evening. When her mother takes off her diamond ring so it won't become coated with the messy masa, Maria decides that life would be perfect if she could wear the ring, too. Trouble begins when she sneakily slips the sparkly ring on her thumb and resumes her kneading. Uh oh. It is not until later that night, after all the tamales have been cooked and after all her cousins and relatives have arrived, that Maria suddenly realizes what must have happened to the precious ring. Ed Martinez's warm oil paintings celebrate the riches of South American Christmas colors--adobe reds, dusty gold, lacey whites, and rain-forest greens. Martinez also has a gift for capturing children's animated expressions, especially when Maria begs her cousins to help her find the missing ring by secretly eating the enormous stack of steaming tamales! Gary Soto's delightful Christmas-spirit closure will relieve young readers who empathize with the negligent Maria. Grown-ups, too, will appreciate this playful reminder about the virtues of forgiveness and family togetherness. (Ages 4 and older) --Gail Hudson

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:51 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

Maria tries on her mother's wedding ring while helping make tamales for a Christmas family get-together. Panic ensues when hours later, she realizes the ring is missing.

(summary from another edition)

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Average: (3.92)
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