What Can You Do With a Paleta? by Carmen Tafolla, illustrated by Magaly Morales
Growing up in a very small town, I never heard the familiar tinkle of an ice cream truck pulling into my neighborhood until I was an adult and lived in a bigger city. Now, I can see the joy that sound brings to neighborhood children as they eagerly run up to the truck to take a look at its offerings.
Latin American cultures have their own version of an ice cream truck - the paleta wagon, serving its sweet frozen fruit treats. It seems like the hardest decision is to choose which flavor you want - maybe strawberry, coconut, or mango this time - but Carmen Tafolla's vividly detailed book suggests that once you pick a flavor, you have to decide what to do with it. Do you make a sticky art masterpiece or paint a blue mustache or purple tongue? While those are definitely fun options, the author lets us know that the best thing to do with a paleta is gobble it down.
Tafolla's sensory language and Morales' richly detailed and warm illustrations took me directly to a Mexican barrio on a hot day. I could smell the crisp tacos, hear the music, and even taste a sticky coconut paleta as it dripped down my chin.
This is a book that celebrates a vibrant culture and brings to life the excitement of the paleta wagon rolling through the neighborhood. This is a great book to use in a classroom as well as at home to introduce kids to a culture which they may not know much about. Mexican-American families will treasure this beautiful representation of their culture, and there's even a dual-language version, What Can You Do With a Paleta? / ¿Qué puedes hacer con una paleta?, that bilingual families and kids learning English or Spanish can savor.
- Reading level: Ages 4-8
- Hardcover: 32 pages
- Publisher: Tricycle Press (April 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1582462216
- ISBN-13: 978-1582462219
- Source: Review copy from publisher