Saturday, May 31, 2008

Paco and the Giant Chile Plant/Paco y la planta de chile gigante by Keith Polette, illustrated by Elizabeth O. Dulemba

Paco and the Giant Chile Plant/Paco y la planta de chile gigante written by Keith Polette; illustrated by Elizabeth O. Dulemba
Paperback: 32 pages
Publisher: Raven Tree Press (February 18, 2008)
Language: English and Spanish
ISBN-10: 0979446236
ISBN-13: 978-0979446238
Amazon price: $7.95
Source of book: F&G from publisher

Set in the American Southwest, Paco and the Giant Chile Plant/Paco y la planta de chile gigante is an adaptation of Jack and the Beanstalk. Told in English with Spanish embedded in red throughout, Paco sells his family's vaca (cow), their only source of income, for a handful of semillas de chile (chili seeds). When he plants the seeds, a giant chile plant grows way up into the sky. Of course, a curious Paco must climb up the plant, and when he does, he meets the terrible giant we expect him to meet. However, the surprise ending of the story is anything but expected and provides an interesting twist.

Elizabeth O. Dulemba's rich gold-toned illustrations reflect the colors of the desert and give us a glimpse of the clothing, dwellings, and culture of the American southwest.

*Image courtesy of Raven Tree Press.

This is an ideal book for bilingual children or English and Spanish learners. A glossary in the back of the book offers definitions of all of the Spanish words in rojo. It would also make a great read aloud, especially for children who like a little action and suspense in their stories.

Read interviews with Elizabeth Dulemba at Stone Soup and Art & Soul. And visit her website for some fun book-related activities.

What other bloggers are saying:
World of Words: "I would recommend this book to teachers and librarians who have bilingual children in their classrooms." (Read more...)

The Reading Tub
: "The author did a fabulous job taking what most of us assume is just a Spanish-added version of a classic story and truly making it his own. He did a masterful job blending Spanish into the story, offering repetition in English and Spanish together. As good as the story is, I could turn the pages just to look at the illustrations, too." (Read more...)

A Patchwork of Books
: "I really liked how the Spanish words were sprinkled into the story, rather than it being told first in English, then in Spanish as many bilingual books work." (Read more...)

If you've reviewed Paco and the Giant Chile Plant, leave a comment with your link, and I'll add it here!


  1. Oh, I would have loved this for a little girl I used to tutor. She had learned to read in Spanish first, and I helped her with her English reading. She liked to get out a Spanish picture book at the end, read each page to me, and let me try to translate. She was partly pleased with me when I did well and partly pleased to know more than her tutor about something to do with reading! This would have been a fun book for us to share.

  2. Dewey,
    This would have definitely been a great book to have on hand with the little girl you tutored. I'm quite impressed with the number of quality bilingual books Raven Tree Press publishes. I also really like the bilingual fairy tales that Chronicle Books publishes. It's so wonderful that there are more choices available for kids who speak other languages, but there could definitely be more.

  3. Oh god this is the most racist stuff I've ever seen in many years. I can't believe it!