cover image A Cooking Poem

A Cooking Poem

Jorge Argueta, trans. from the Spanish by Elisa Amado, illus. by Domi. Groundwood (PGW, dist.), $18.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-55498-300-1

Argueta’s fourth bilingual “cooking poem” is built around another elementally simple dish: tamalitos, “little tamales” of corn and cheese. The poem unfolds as a recipe, narrated by a boy who is well aware of the importance of corn in his family history: “Our indigenous ancestors ate/ tamalitos made from corn./ It also says in the Popol Vuh,/ the sacred book of the Maya,/ that the first men and women were made of corn.” Bright colors blend like tie-dye in Domi’s naïf watercolors, which alternate between scenes of the boy assembling tamalitos and more esoteric images of celebration. While the soaking, kneading, and steaming of these basic ingredients lacks some of the drama of Argueta’s earlier books, Domi’s paintings communicate plenty of enthusiasm, and readers may feel the pull to “Baila la danza del maíz.” Ages 4–7. (Apr.)