Friday, January 24, 2014

PPBF: Mice and Beans

I'm getting a head start on celebrating Multicultural Children's Book Day
 With today's Perfect Picture Book Friday pick

Mice and Beans,
by Pam Ryan and Joe Cepeda
Mice and Beans
Written by Pam Munoz Ryan
Illustrated by Joe Cepeda

Scholastic, 2001,
Fiction, ages 4-8, Grade level Equivalent: 2.7,
Lexile 440L, Guided Reading: L

Language Learning, Humor, Birthdays

"Rosa Maria lived in a tiny house with a tiny yard. But she had a big heart, a big family, and more than anything, she loved to cook big meals for them.

"In one week, her youngest grandchild, Little Catalina, would be seven years old, and the whole family would squeeze into her casita for the party. Rosa Maria didn't mind because she believed what her mother had always said: 'When there's room in the heart, there's room in the house, except for a mouse.'"

Abuela Rosa Maria has a list of preparations for her grand-daughter's birthday party. Every day she finishes one of the tasks, never forgetting to set a mouse trap in her kitchen. Poor Rosa Maria thinks she is very forgetful, because each morning the trap is missing and some small portion of the previous day's task has been undone. She hopes to finish in time for Little Catalina's party, while the mice have plans of their own.

What I Love:
I love the way the author sprinkles Spanish throughout the text, in a way that is easy for young children. It is a beautiful introduction to the language for monolingual readers. She includes a dctionary and recipe in the back. Besides the obvious benefits, this is a sweet, funny story, made even more so by Joe Cepeda's vibrantly quirky illustrations.

Use a heart pattern
to make these mice guys.
1. Pam's book includes a recipe for rice and beans, or you can try this version using yellow rice.
2. Brush up on your language skills at OnlineFreeSpanish or 123Teach Me, specifically geared for children.
3. Spoonful posts make-your-own felt mice hand puppets, that double as a Valentine's Day craft.
4. Delve into other books that explore cultures at home and around the world. Mia Wenjen has assembled a lovely collection of kids books which celebrate diversity.

Check out all the recommended titles for Perfect Picture Book Friday for January 24, 2014.
Thanks to Susanna Leonard Hill.


  1. Lurv your mice puppet idea! And the title sounds...delish!

  2. Several of us have gotten a headstart today on Multicultural Children's Book Day. I know at least four of us participating. This sounds like a wonderful bilingual share. I like quirky and funny. Will have to check it out! Like it when authors provide activities on their websites for parents and teachers.

    1. I was so pleased to see everyone on board for the event. Make sure you submit your review to Valarie's website. There are plenty of links to culturally diverse materials listed. It's a great new resource.

  3. The illustrations look captivating.

    1. I love the look of Rosa Maria's quirky family. Thanks for stopping by!

  4. My kids are learning Spanish in school, so I love books like this that work Spanish into the text. I hope our library has it.

    1. One of Joe Cepeda's other books, "Gracias, the Thanksgiving Turkey" also integrates Spanish into the text. It is written by the lovely Joy Cowley.

  5. Yummy title!! Ms Ryan is a favorite in our library, but I've not seen this one! I'll be looking for it! Thanks!

    1. I know you enjoy a good book with food in it. Always a pleasure. Thanks.

  6. Thank you so much for joining us for Multicultural Children's Book Day and for your great book suggestion! I will share it via Twitter and Pinterest! I'm a big fan of Pam Munoz Ryan and I would love a slightly bilingual book since my kids are trying to learn Spanish.

  7. Thanks to you for hosting such a meaningful event. Thanks, too, for spreading the word. This book truly deserves attention. It's fabulous all-around and typifies what I love most in a multicultural book: culture and language clues integrated into the story as the norm. I love the resources and links on your site. So much to see!


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