- Age Range: 6 - 9 years
- Grade Level: 1 - 4
- Hardcover: 40 pages
- Publisher: Harcourt Children's Books (March 30, 1994)
- Language: English, Spanish
- ISBN-10: 0152618759
- ISBN-13: 978-0152618759
- Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 0.5 x 10.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 11 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,905,843 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Piñata Maker / El Piñatero (Bilingual Edition) Hardcover – March 30, 1994
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From Kirkus Reviews
In lucid color photos and a simple bilingual text, the work of 77-year-old Don Ricardo (``Tio Rico''), a Mexican craftsman who ``started creating pi¤atas fifteen years ago when...making felt sombreros became too hard for him.'' Beginning with a small boy delivering some of Tio Rico's materials (old newpapers and paper bags), Ancona leads into a detailed depiction of making of an unusual swan pi¤ata. Forming a shape of cardboard and banana leaves, incorporating a clay pot, and applying decorative covering are all explained so clearly--in both the text and the admirable photos--that readers will be able to follow up by making their own pi¤atas (Ancona also offers some alternative construction methods). Creating a couple of other shapes and a party where one of them meets its intended end round out an attractive presentation. (Nonfiction. 7-10) -- Copyright ©1994, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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Top customer reviews
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Very lively, very human.
Don Ricardo - Tio Rico, Uncle Dick, to the children of his village - has been hand-crafting piñatas, dance masks, and puppets for most of his 77 years. Though his work is entirely traditional, he's a genuine imaginative artist. The book shows him at work and describes some of the steps in his craftsmanship, in photographs as well as bi-lingual text. It also shows the lucky children of his village in southern Mexico -- visiting him in his shop, picking out piñatas, trying on dance masks and costumes for fiestas, celebrating their birthdays with Tio Rico and his wife as honored guests.
There may still be a few norteamericanos who don't know what a piñata is, though the custom of breaking the piñata seems to have crossed the border and been welcomed at birthday parties from Maine to Hawaii. The piñata is a hollow urn, usually of thin ceramic or papier-maché, highly decorated in fantastic forms, filmed with 'goodies' and suspended over a patio on a rope pulled up and down by an older child or adult. The birthday-party guests take turns, blind-folded, trying to break the piñata with a stick. When the piñata is broken, the 'goodies' cascade on the patio and the children scramble to pick them up. But no one looks happier to see the most gorgeous piñata shattered than the artist Tio Rico. He knows his art is perishable -- as all art is, in the end -- and he takes pleasure in the pleasure of his 'audience.' The author of this book, George Ancona, knows that some underprivileged norteamericanos might live in place where there are no piñata makers or venders, and so he includes some suggestions for makeshifting a piñata with cardboard, balloons, and crepe paper.
This book was published in 1994. The chances that Tio Rico is still crafting his folk art are scant. These days most piñatas are mass-produced -- who knows, possibly in Singapore, where the book was printed. But there's still time -- and certainly need -- for North Americans to learn to savor the humble but brilliant culture of traditional rural Mexicans, and to develop some respect for a grizzled old man with battered hands and broken teeth in somewhat shabby clothes -- just like the guy cadging odd jobs on your street corner -- who happens to have the spirit of an artist.
A village boy collects newspapers and concrete sacks for Tio Rico. These he uses to fashion unusual and decorative pinatas. The process is explained by a delightful profusion of photographs which accompany the story. The author, George Ancona, also shows "puppets" which are child-size papier-mache forms worn by young folk dancers. He shows his own version of pinata formed over cardboard or balloons for those of us who cannot buy clay pots at a local market.
Children everywhere will enjoy this colorful book and be eager to try the craft. With luck, they will have patient teachers and learn some Spanish and/or English words, too! My favorite companion book is "Colors of Mexico" (isbn: #1575052164), illustrated by Janice Porter.
"THE PINATA MAKER" is a 5-star book for adults as well as children, and most appropriate for the 2003 church women's study of Mexico. Find a group of children to share this book with, and increase your enjoyment three-fold.
In both Spanish and English Sr. Ancona tells the interesting story of Don Ricardo, an elderly pinata maker in a small Mexican village. He also includes complete instructions which allow the reader to construct his or her own pinata.
Using the construction process as a reward I was able to involve my elementary level students in a number of academic activities they had earlier resisted, as well as expanding the learning process into a number of new areas. In addition, behavior related problems decreased dramatically because participation in the reading, discussion, and pinata design and construction were based upon the completion of other academic work as well as classroom behavior and all wanted to engage in the interesting activities and discussions suggested by the book.
The ways in which this book can be used by creative teachers are many. I strongly suggest that teachers consider using this book as inspiration for a number of enjoyable and effective learning activities.