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<< Back to Don't Say A Word, Mama / No digas nada, mama

Don't Say A Word, Mama / No digas nada, mama

Shelf Awareness

This bilingual tale of sisterly generosity by master storyteller Joe Hayes (Ghost Fever) brims with humor and love, while Esau Andrade Valencia's Mexican folk art matches the siblings' affection and playfulness.
As children, Rosa and Blanca helped each other with the chores their mother assigned. Blanca accompanied Rosa to buy flour for tortillas; Rosa helped Blanca sweep the sidewalk in front of their house. Their proud mother proclaims, "I think I'm the luckiest mother in the whole wide world." Rosa marries and has three children; Blanca lives alone. But both sisters still live on the same street, on either side of their mother. Hayes describes how each helps the other harvest corn, tomatoes and "good hot chiles"--and secretly takes half her yield to the other. "Don't say a word, Mamá!" each of them makes her promise. (Rosa and Blanca of course share with Mamá, too.)
Hayes makes the most of the repeated phrases ("The night was dark. The sisters didn't see each other when they passed right in front of their mother's house"), and Valencia heightens the comedy when Rosa and Blanca see their bounty in the morning ("Did my tomatoes have babies during the night?" Rosa says), depicting tomato parents in dresses and jeans pushing baby carriages, and corn cobs in top hat and bridal veil. In a clever climax, Mamá breaks her silence--but without breaking her promise to her daughters. Author and artist celebrate family and abundance in a story that will be a favorite read-aloud at harvest time or anytime. --Jennifer M. Brown, children's editor, Shelf Awareness
Discover: A funny, affectionate tale of two sisters who let their mother in on their secret gift-giving mission.
- Jennifer M. Brown, November 8, 2013  Visit Website

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