Baking is always a treat, particularly when you throw family and fun into the mix. In this whimsical look at the making of empanadas, popular children’s author Gonzales Bertrand serves up the festive fun of a family’s effort to concoct the delicious pastries. In the tradition of popular rhymes like “The Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly,” the laughter and fun rise from page to page.
The Empanadas that Abuela Made/Las empanadas que hacía la abuela is filled with humorous cooks and family: Abuela, Abuelo, the cousins, aunts, uncles, and even the family dog join the parade of fluttering flour and swirling sugar. Alex Pardo de Lange fills the pages with offbeat illustrations of blankets of dough and dancing rolling pins.
With an easy empanada recipe included in the book, this will be a literary delicacy for the whole family and will give many readers their first taste of a celebrated Latino tradition.
“The crisp autumn air and ripe pumpkins signal that it’s time for Abuela to make her dynamite empanadas. This rhythmic cumulative rhyme follows the process …. Along the way, grandchildren, Grandpa, cousins, aunts, and uncles get involved, making it truly a family project. The pen-and-ink and watercolor cartoons in bright, clean fall colors have just the right verve and humor to extend the repetitive text. Both the English and the Spanish are suitable for beginning readers as the repetition in the text reinforces vocabulary and recognition skills. A sound choice for ESL programs and libraries.”—School Library Journal
DIANE GONZALES BERTRAND is the author of numerous books for children. They include The Story Circle / El círculo de cuentos (Piñata Books, 2016), A Bean and Cheese Taco Birthday / Un cumpleaños con tacos de frijoles con queso (2015), and Cecilia and Miguel Are Best Friends / Cecilia y Miguel son mejores amigos (2014), among others. A lifelong resident of San Antonio, Bertrand teaches at St. Mary’s University, where she is also Writer-in-Residence.
Like Pepita, the character she brought to life in vivid color on the pages of Pepita Talks Twice / Pepita habla dos veces (Piñata Books, 1995) and subsequent books in the Pepita series, ALEX PARDO DELANGE has walked the highway of assimilation between two cultures. Written by Ofelia Dumas Lachtman, Pepita Talks Twice / Pepita habla dos veces is a brightly illustrated bilingual picture book that tells the charming story of a little girl who learns the joy and value of speaking two languages and living within two cultures.
Born in Caracas, Venezuela, Pardo DeLange moved to Buenos Aires, Argentina, at the age of 15 where she finished high school. Later, she moved to the United States where she earned a degree in Fine Arts at the University of Miami. She started her career in art as a freelance artist for design and advertising agencies, but quickly made the move to illustrating books for children.
In addition to illustrating the six books in the Pepita Series, Pardo DeLange is also the illustrator of The Empanadas that Abuela Made / Las empanadas que hacía la abuela (Piñata Books, 2003); Tina and the Scarecrow Skins / Tina y las pieles de espantapájaros (Piñata Books, 2002); and Sip, Slurp, Soup Soup / Caldo, caldo, caldo (Piñata Books, 2002).
She now lives in Gainesville, Florida with her husband and three children.
GABRIELA BAEZA VENTURA is an associate professor of Spanish at the University of Houston. She has translated numerous children’s books, including Dalia’s Wondrous Hair / El cabello maravilloso de Dalia (Arte Público Press, 2014), There’s a Name for this Feeling: Stories / Hay un nombre para lo que siento: Cuentos (2014), Adelita and the Veggie Cousins / Adelita y las primas verduritas (2011) and Remembering Grandma / Recordando a Abuela (2003).
Learn more by visiting her faculty page.
ATOS Interest Level: Lower Grades
Category: Picture Book