Friday, December 25, 2020

Christmas Surprise! Too Many Tamales by Gary Soto

Snow drifted through the streets and Christmas trees glittered in windows.

Maria was feeling really grown up, helping her mother make tamales. Her hands were covered with masa as she kneaded the dough. Maria felt grown up, wearing her mother's apron. If only she could wear Mom's ring, she thought to herself.

And when Mom leaves her ring on the table when she goes to answer the telephone, Maria decides to try it on.
The ring sparkled on her thumb!

When her mother comes back, she asks Maria to go get her father to help them finish the tamales, spreading the masa on the cornhusks. Soon there were twenty-four tamales steaming in the pot.

Just then the whole family arrives and Maria takes her cousins upstairs to play. Suddenly she looks down at her thumb.
"The ring!" she screams.

"What ring?" her cousins asked.

Maria whispers an explanation as she and her cousins slip quietly into the kitchen.
The steaming tamales lay piled high on a platter.

"Help me!" said Maria.

There's only one thing to do. Each one of them must eat six tamales, watching out for a ring inside one of them.

It's a big challenge, but all's well that ends well, concluding with the whole family mixing up a new batch of tamales--which for the four well-fed cousins are Too Many Tamales (G. P. Putnam's Sons), in Gary Soto's good-natured story of a family gathering that will be the stuff of a Christmas legend the relatives will tell for many Christmases to come. Ed Martinez' illustrations are warm, humorous, and particularly skilled in facial expressions, in a different holiday tale, about which Booklist says, "A very funny story, full of delicious surprises . . . a joyful success."

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