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The Dog Who Loved Tortillas

Kirkus Reviews
Garcia's signature folk-inspired, sculpted clay illustrations depict a lovably goofy little mutt. Rounded shaped-heads, dog bed, tortillas and more combine with a warm palette to create a cozy, comforting atmosphere that reflects the traditions of Mexican-American family life described in the dual English/Spanish narrative. A universal message with a Latino flavor. (Picture book. 5-8)
A new dog, Sofie, joins the family introduced in A Gift from Papá Diego (1998), to the absolute joy of the children, Little Diego and Gabriela. Though there is much competition between siblings as to whose dog she is and who loves her more, the controversy quickly ends when Sofie becomes seriously ill and the family endures two days and nights of anxiety and fear.
Love, moral support and a bit of faith bring the drama to a happy conclusion while brother and sister gain insight into the sharing of all the responsibilities and joys of pet owning: Too many tortillas may not be such a good thing for the rambunctious puppy.

Garcia's signature folk-inspired, sculpted clay illustrations depict a lovably goofy little mutt; rounded shapes-heads, dog bed, tortillas and more-combine with a warm palette to create a cozy, comforting atmosphere that reflects the traditions of Mexican-American family life described in the dual English/Spanish narrative. A universal message with a Latino flavor. (Picture book. 5-8)
- August 15, 2009 
Publishers Weekly
...Sáenz’s text almost makes the book read like a short story—one that ably portrays mischievous sibling dynamics, a love of animals and the ways families come together during difficult times (Sofie falls ill at one point).
Diego Domínguez from A Gift from Papá Diego (1998) returns in this bilingual sequel that sees the boy’s family gaining a new member—a puppy from the Humane Society named Sofie. Diego and his older sister, Gabriela, both want a dog of their own, but agree to share (“But it will be more mine, Diego thought. But it will be more mine, Gabriela thought. Diego smiled at his sister. She smiled back at him”).

Though the siblings initially find Sofie difficult to train, they learn that the puppy (like the rest of the family) is a big fan of Mrs. Domínguez’s homemade tortillas, which they use to help her learn tricks. The length of Sáenz’s text almost makes the book read like a short story—one that ably portrays mischievous sibling dynamics, a love of animals and the ways families come together during difficult times (Sofie falls ill at one point).

Set against colorful solid backdrops, Garcia’s clay artwork has an appropriately homey quality that keeps the focus on the siblings and their beloved pet. Ages 5–10. (Aug.)
- August 10, 2009 
Library Journal
A captivating bilingual book with close family relationships and unconditional love at its core.
A captivating bilingual book with close family relationships and unconditional love at its core.

When Gabriela and Diego ask for a dog, their parents tell them that they will have to share, which the siblings reluctantly accept. The family goes to the Humane Society, where Gabriela chooses the perfect puppy and Diego chooses the perfect name: Sofie. They bathe her, battle for the right to sleep with her, help in her training, and both claim to love her more than the other. While teaching her a trick, the children discover the pup loves tortillas; soon she is known to the entire neighborhood for her gentleness, sweetness, and as the dog who loves tortillas.

When Sofie gets sick, the children finally learn to share her. Full-page innovative and colorful clay illustrations will hold the attention of young readers. The Spanish corresponds to the vernacular used by some Hispanic-American communities in the Southwest of the U.S.
- September 15, 2009 
Tucson Citizen
Drawing on characters introduced in A Gift from Papa Diego, Diego, his big sister, Gabriela, and their parents return in this delightful story of two kids and their dog, Sophie, who is almost impossible to train until they discover her love for tortillas. This delightful bilingual tale is about sharing, family connections, and a cherished pet. (Ages 6-10)
- August 15, 2009 
Library Media Connection
K-5. This bilingual story begins as Little Diego and Gabriela reach the same conclusion: owning a dog would be a good thing. As they adopt Sofie and raise her, the brother and sister argue about whose dog she is, all the while learning that pet ownership requires lots of work. The clay-art figure illustrations are cheerful and add a high degree of interest. Elementary teachers will find the content appropriate for enrichment or in a unit about family relationships, although this dialogue-heavy book will require more than one class period for reading. Second and third year high school Spanish classes can use the text for work with the preterit and imperfect tenses.
Oneota Reading Journal
To the delight of Gabriela and Diego, their family receives a new pet, a dog named Sophie. The children have wanted a dog very badly and they are excited to teach her tricks. They teach Sophie tricks by rewarding her with Mrs. Domínguez’s tortillas. After eating too many tortillas, Sophie feels sick, but she soon begins to feel better. In this way, the family learns that eating too many tortillas is not healthy for dogs. The vocabulary used in the story is advanced but not too challenging. The message is important because many kids today want pets but do not realize the responsibilities that come along with them, or how to provide them with proper care.
New West
Benjamin Alire Sáenz‘s The Dog Who Loved Tortillas, with vibrant clay illustrations by Geronimo Garcia, will be a hit with any kid who has ever begged his parents for a dog.
- November 16, 2009 

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