From School Library Journal
Kindergarten-Grade 2-One September morning, young Cristina and her grandmother pick bright red chiles and string them to dry. When the child is dismayed at the bushels and bushels that await them, her abuela tells her the story of great-grandfather Benito and his bizcochitos m gicos. In the tradition of "Jack and the Beanstalk," the young Benito trades the family cow for some magic seeds. After much tribulation, he eventually succeeds as the first chile farmer, and all ends well with the returned cow, spicy food, and a happy community. Accardo's pen-and-ink and colored-pencil illustrations have a fresh yet classic look. Clear colors, great expression, and satisfying use of detail make the art appealing to the eye and a perfect match for the tale's fanciful tone. The text, as good in Spanish as it is in English, reads aloud well despite its length. Francesc Bofill's Jack and the Beanstalk/Juan y los frijoles magicos (Chronicle, 1998) presents a stylish version of the traditional story, but collections can easily accommodate both titles. The appended recipe for red chile sauce is a plus for budding cooks.
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K-Gr. 3. Cristina learns to string red chiles into ristras.
To pass the time, her grandmother tells Cristina about her great-grandfather, a stranger and his talking bird, and some magical seeds. Accardo's bright, cartoonlike illustrations aptly fit the fable quality of the bilingual book, and the nonliteral Spanish translation is strong, seemingly by a native speaker. Not a must purchase, but a competent effort that focuses on family and tradition in the Southwest. Julie KlineCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved