cover image Señorita Gordita

Señorita Gordita

Helen Ketteman, illus. by Will Terry. Albert Whitman, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-8075-7302-0

“Gordita,” a word that is both a Mexican endearment (it’s the equivalent of calling someone a “little dumpling”) and the name of tortilla-based street food, inspires this Spanish language–seasoned variation on “The Gingerbread Man” from the duo behind The Three Little Gators and Armadilly Chili. Ketteman’s text skitters along thanks to the feisty, catchphrase-laden declarations of the taunting, deep-fried antiheroine. “I am rather fine-looking, aren’t I?” Gordita tells one potential nemesis. “But I airstreamed Araña, gassed past Lagarto, and cruised past Crótolo. So put down your zinger of a stinger, Escorpión. You’ll never catch me!” Terry’s illustrations are sometimes undermined by an odd and at times frustrating haziness, but for the most part they have the vivacity of graffiti and Mexican street art, rendered with exaggerated dimensionality and spray-paint colors. As for his long-lashed, sassy Gordita (who is stylish to boot in her cowboy hat with pink ribbon trim), she exudes just enough snark that children won’t mind her gustatory comeuppance. A recipe for gorditas and a glossary of Spanish terms are included. Ages 4–7. (Mar.)