Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Senorita Gordita

Senorita Gordita
written by Helen Ketteman; illustrated by Will Terry
2012 (Albert Whitman & Company)
Source: Review copy provided by the publisher

The Gingerbread Man has moved to the Southwest and taken the form of a female gordita. Created by Arana the spider, Senorita Gordita and her spicy personality escapes and takes off down the road. What follows are encounters with native animals who are all hungry for a bread treat. Lagarto the lizard offers his shade but Senorita Gordita gives him the brush off and declares that she is "putting the pedal to the metal" and the chase begins. Crotolo (rattlesnake) would like to visit but he too ends up in the chase. Escorpion, Javalina, and Coyote all meet the same fate as the previous creatures who tried to sidle up to Ms. Gordita. Finally, as she is chased by the growing crowd, Senorita stops at a saguaro cactus where Buho the bolo tie wearing owl sits on top. Like others, he offers safety from harm. At first, Senorita is skeptical, but when Buho explains that he does not hunt during the day, she takes him up on his pitch of a place to rest. Is it the end of the line for the trash talking fried bread?

Senorita Gordita is an amusing retelling that introduces students to a desert setting and an infusion of Spanish vocabulary. Senorita Gordita is an interesting character who can be the subject of a discussion about the consequences of behavior. Does her taunting create a deserved fate or is she an unfortunate victim of a wise owl? The last sentence of the book is the perfect starting point for this question. Senorita Gordita would also be a good text to help teach the skill of retelling a story. I love the use of colors and the perspectives of the characters in Will Terry's illustrations. You see the gordita staring high at the owl with the posse in pursuit. Senorita Gordita is a fun twist on the Gingerbread Man tale.

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