Southwest Children's  Literature

Sun Logo

Carlos and the Squash Plant/Carlos y la planta de calabaza

Book Review:

Carlos and the Squash Plant is the story of a young Hispanic boy named Carlos, and the struggle he was having with taking a bath. After working in the rich soil in the squash fields in New Mexico, Carlos never wanted to take a bath, no matter how dirty he was! His mama kept warning him that if he didn't wash his ears, a squash plant was going to grow out of them. One day Carlos saw the beginning of a stem with leaves growing out of his ear, but he still refused to take a bath or wash his ears! The plant got bigger and longer, and even began to bloom with yellow blossoms! Carlos began hiding the squash plant from his mother underneath bigger and bigger hats as the plant kept growing. One day, Carlos's hat blew off in the fields and Carlos ran into the house to jump into the bath before his mother saw him. As he scrubbed his ear, the squash plant disappeared. Carlos finished his bath just in time for dinner...where his mother served him calabacitas, his favorite dish made with squash!

I love this story because I can remember being in elementary school and my mother having to force me to take a bath! Every night it was a struggle, just like it was for Carlos in this story. A good lesson can be learned from this story as well... lying only gets you into more trouble because lies just grow until they are so big they are impossible to hide any longer. Elementary students from every race, gender, or ethnicity will be able to relate to this silly story of what happens when you refuse to wash your ears! Written in English and Spanish, it is a valuable tool to use in classrooms where students speak or are learning one or both languages. The illustrations are vivid and colorful and are a true depiction of the Southwestern landscape found in New Mexico. Included in the back of the book is a recipe for calabacitas, a traditional Mexican dish made from corn, yellow or zucchini squash, cheese, onions, and green chiles.


to mainpage

About the Book | Book Review | Children's Voices | Lesson Plan | About the Reviewer