cover image Count on Culebra: Go from 1 to 10 in Spanish

Count on Culebra: Go from 1 to 10 in Spanish

Ann Whitford Paul, , illus. by Ethan Long. . Holiday House, $16.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-8234-2124-4

A reptile rushes to the rescue to ensure that candy gets made in this companion to Mañana, Iguana and Fiesta Fiasco. Iguana stubs her toe and is in too much pain to make her dulces , or “yummy cactus butter candies,” so Culebra (snake) orders Conejo (rabbit) and Tortuga (tortoise) to attach different-numbered sets of culinary objects onto un rope tied to Iguana’s tail. “ 'Seis pie tins AND siete cups are necessary.’ 'Necessary for what?’ asked Tortuga. Culebra raised himself high. 'Necessary for dulces. ’ ” Soon Iguana is parading around with cookware and cutlery dragging behind. The situational humor of her weighty predicament will appeal to kids, and Paul and Long play it to the hilt by devoting several spreads to the noisy spectacle of kettles, skillets, pots, pans, knives, forks and spoons trailing behind a hapless Iguana (“clink clank clang klatter klitter...”). However, an anticlimactic resolution ends the story on a flat note, and the use of the Spanish numbers never feels organic. A glossary of the Spanish words and a recipe for cactus butter dulces are included at the end (should cactus butter be unavailable, substitute melted butter plus peanut butter). Ages 4-8. (Mar.)