Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Children's Lit Spotlight: Chicks and Salsa

Some time ago, I promised that I would post from time to time about great children's books. I have composed several such posts in my head but have never gotten around to any of them. Last night before bed, one of the books my kids picked out to read jumped out at me as a post.
This book is not an old children's classic; it was published in 2005, so many of my readers have probably never run across it. The illustrations, done in watercolors by Paulette Bogan are rich and humorous and tell the story on their own. The illustrations are important because they draw in even the youngest "reader". Bronwen and Ian, both too young to read, love looking through books without anyone reading to them, as long as the illustrations provide their own feast.
The premise of the book is one that appeals to me as a foodie. It also would be a great one if you were trying to get your kids interested in trying new foods, in growing food to eat in your garden, or in helping you make dinner.
The hens on Nuthatcher farm have gotten tired of their same old food. The rooster decides that he needs to solve this problem and begins to watch cooking shows through the window of Mrs. Nuthatcher's kitchen. He comes back to the hens with a plan--chips and salsa! That night, as the Nuthatchers sleep, the chickens pick tomatoes and cilantro for their salsa. The fever is catching, and soon the other animals are asking the rooster what they should eat. They return to the garden to find the ingredients for guacamole and nachos.
My favorite line of the book is:
"As everyone knows, when a passion for southwestern cuisine takes hold of farm animals, and so many sumptuous, spicy, savory scents collide in the barnyard air, it can only lead to one thing . . . Fiesta!"
But the animals' plans for enchiladas come to a screeching halt when they discover that the garden has been completely picked over for Mrs. Nuthatcher's county fair tamales. I won't tell you the ending--but let's just say that the rooster doesn't give up.
At the back of the book, there are recipes for Hog Wild Nachos, Quackamole, and Rooster's Roasted Salsa so that you can host a fiesta of your own.
My kids do not get tired of this book and I do not get tired of reading it to them, which is always a sign of a great book. Check it out at your local library, pick it up on Amazon.com, or watch for it at your school's book fair (I think that's where we found ours.) Get ready to read it over and over, and to have your children request Mexican food!


Allison said...

I've read that book to your kids and it is great! I love those books about savvy barnyard animals.(Like Duck on a Bike and Click Clack Moo)

Rebecca said...

That sounds like a great book! I'll have to check it out.

One of my favorite books that I never get tired of reading to the kids is "Bear Snores On". They also love "One Duck Stuck".

Michal said...

yes, duck on a bike and click clack moo are some of the best out there.
we love bear snores on! i'll have to look for one duck stuck. thanks for the recommendation.

Martin said...

I think in "How do dinosaurs eat thier food" one of the carnivores is eating chicken with salsa :)

Anonymous said...

Pass the salsa! Make mine very mild! I'm a wimp! I to have read this book to my gkids. Fun book!