cover image Holy Mol! A Folktale from Mexico

Holy Mol! A Folktale from Mexico

Caroline McAlister, , illus. by Stefan Czernecki. . August House/Little Folk, $16.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-87483-775-9

Legend has it that molé, one of the signature dishes of Mexican cuisine, was created when a monk named Brother Pascual tripped and accidentally spilled the ingredients into a pot. In her debut children's book, McAlister adds a kid's-eye-view twist, positing that an orphaned kitchen boy named Carlos unwittingly created this celebrated concoction. Poor Carlos is convinced he is permanently in the doghouse after causing Brother Pascual to drop ingredients intended for several different courses into the turkey pot. But then “the most delicious smells began to rise from the simmering stew—a rich mixture of chilies, garlic, chocolate and cinnamon.” The thick, savory sauce enchants the palates of both the monks and their VIP visitor, the Viceroy. Czernecki's (Zigzag ) illustrations never offer a sense of time or place—in fact, he dispenses with backgrounds altogether and provides his angular characters with just enough props to carry the story. Budding foodies—especially young fans of the spontaneous gastronomy of Iron Chef —will likely find this a tale to pique their appetites. Ages 5-8. (May)