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Round Is a Tortilla: A Book of Shapes

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Round are tortillas and tacos, too Round is a bowl of abuela's stew. In this lively picture book, children discover a world of shapes all around them: Rectangles are ice-cream carts and stone metates, triangles are slices of watermelon and quesadillas. Many of the featured objects are Latino in origin, but all are universal in appeal. With rich, boisterous illustrations, a fun-to-read rhyming text, and an informative glossary, this playful concept book will reinforce the shapes found in every child's day!

40 pages, Hardcover

First published February 1, 2013

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About the author

Roseanne Thong

21 books22 followers
Also writes as Roseanne Greenfield Thong.

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5 stars
203 (26%)
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352 (45%)
3 stars
192 (24%)
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22 (2%)
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2 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 177 reviews
Profile Image for Amy Layton.
1,641 reviews48 followers
November 10, 2019
A beautiful, friendly, fun book about the different shapes we see in our lives!  Not only does this book promote cultural awareness, but conceptual awareness as well.  It points out the different shapes within the pages, but also asks its readers to find shapes in their lives as well that match.  It's engaging, artistic, and overall quite a great read!

Review cross-listed here!
Profile Image for Tasha.
4,115 reviews103 followers
March 29, 2013
Explore shapes with two young members of a Mexican-American family. The book begins with circles as they are seen in nests, bells, and food. Readers will also get to find squares, rectangles, triangles, ovals, and stars. Spanish words are sprinkled throughout the book and engagingly explained within the context. There is also a glossary at the end of the book to help. This is an engaging look at shapes with a charming Mexican vibe.

Done in rhyming couplets, the book has a strong lilting rhythm and reads aloud easily. The writing is strong and never suffers from the structure of the rhymes. Thong invites us into their home where we are made to feel welcome throughout the book. It is a warmly written book about shapes that has an additional dimension with the Spanish words.

Parra’s illustrations have a wonderful texture to them, often looking like traditional art and aging painted walls. They add even more warmth and character to this already rich book.

This is an enjoyable and simple look at shapes and Spanish that invites the reader to learn and to try new words. Appropriate for ages 2-4.
22 reviews
March 28, 2014
• This book features scenes familiar to children—park, kitchen, a baseball game. It is written in a rhyming mixture of English and Spanish and helps children realize that if you look closely enough, you will see that shapes that are all around us!

• This book has the characteristics of a picture book because each page has large colorful pictures with three to four lines of text. The language is simple enough so that it tells the story.

• This book is a great tool for teaching kids two content areas: math and foreign language. The objects that are described in the book correlate with a specific shape such as squares, triangles, circles. These objects can all be found in real life such as clocks, parks, boats, etc. which makes good connections so that the child might look for shapes in the real world at home.

• The back of the book contains a glossary of all of the Spanish words used throughout the book. Some words are simply translated English while others pertain to foods and traditions with short descriptions about their significance in Central American culture.
56 reviews
November 23, 2021
Poetically, readers interact with culture and learn foundational shapes. Even though the book is beautifully illustrated and carries a joyful tone, visualizing the shapes could be challenging since the pictures are overstimulating with over-emphasis on details. However, with a well-executed read-aloud, pointing out the shapes, and discussing the images, teachers/parents could accomplish the job. My favorite aspect of the book is that young children will understand the culture and the core of what makes it exceptional
Profile Image for Katy.
16 reviews
November 21, 2019
If you have read Round Is A Mooncake and loved seeing how Chinese culture was effortlessly tied into a study of shapes, then this book is for you! Round Is A Tortilla names common shapes in the world and ties them in to things in Latino culture. The rhyming words paired with the vibrantly colored pictures make the story feel upbeat and lighted hearted. This would be an exciting read aloud for younger students that could easily be used in math or social studies! It could also be a great mentor text for teaching a minilesson about repeating words, rhymes, or how to use illustrations to help figure out the meaning of a word.
Profile Image for Valerie Doherty.
Author 4 books5 followers
February 24, 2021
Excellent, delightful way to discuss shapes in the world around us. It includes a dictionary of some Spanish words too. Perfect way to expose young readers to Spanish.
Profile Image for Cheryl.
27 reviews1 follower
April 25, 2014

Book: Round is a Tortilla; A Book of Shapes by Roseanne Thong published by Chronicle Books in 2013. This is a multi-cultural picture book with the main purpose of teaching shapes. The book uses rhymes with Spanish words and bold illustrations to support the text. Young readers will learn about shapes, learn some Spanish words and also learn about the Hispanic culture.

Reflection: Text to Self
Honestly I picked this book out because of the word Tortilla in the title. I think I was truly starving as I hit the Papillion Library after work to look for some more multicultural books for this assignment. Young readers will love the simple rhymes and will like reading this book several times to learn them. I did use the glossary in the back to learn that a ventana is a window. I also think I picked this because because I have a new student with a Hispanic background.

Bloom's Taxonomy:

1. Look at the cover of the book. Can you predict what this story will be about?

2. Look at the children on the cover. Do they look like they live in Nebraska? Describe where you think they might live?

3. Lets rewrite the rhyme about ventanas. Look at the picture of the girl and cat in the window.

4. Can you think of a place that near you and describe how it looks like the Zocalo or the square?

5. Construct a picture or model of a zocalo.

6. Compare the spanish food to what you eat at home.

7. Tell me the words you don't understand and lets list them and talk about the meanings.

8. Do you think the illustrators eats Honey Bunches of Oats for breakfast? Why or why not.
Note: (I read an interview with the illustrator(http://blaine.org/sevenimpossiblethin...) and he does eat cereal and not the interesting Spanish food in his pictures) With young readers, there are lots of activities and questions to use with this book using upper level thinking skills. I didn't even touch on the all the shapes in my questions!

2013, March 1). Kirkus Review.https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-re...

(2013, April 22). Publishers Weekly.http://www.publishersweekly.com/978-1...
15 reviews
April 24, 2015
Multicultural Picture Book: Round is a Tortilla: A Book of Shapes
2014 Americas Award Honored Title

This is a phenomenal book for young readers because it is teaching them all about shapes but from a multicultural aspect. It is pretty safe to say that when we all learned our shapes it was a circle looks like a ball, etc. but in this book it uses objects that are not only fun but are treasured to certain cultures. My absolute favorite thing about the book is that it incorporates spanish into almost each page. This makes the spanish speakers in the classroom more related to the book and it also teaches the non spanish speakers new words in a different language. It is only usually one spanish word per page so it isn't overwhelming for the non spanish speakers and there is a glossary in the back of the book with all of the words. So if they are reading this on their own they can flip to the back of the book to see what "abuela" or "campanas" means. Understanding even minimal spanish I believe is helpful and when learning new languages it is easier to start young.

I think this book relates text to self because a lot of the items mentioned in the book are items that we use or see almost daily. Most students can relate to watching someone cooking at the stove and that is where it ties in to text to world. There are so many examples of things that are familiar to children in every culture but they are just done or seen differently. In this book, the grandmother is seen making a traditional dish called pozole which could lead into a discussion about what everyone's families like to eat and everyone will have a different answer. It is a lesson that we all come from different cultures but we also aren't as different as we probably think we are. For text to text I found a fantastic book that I think would pair well called What Can You do With a Paleta? by Carmen Tafolla. This is a book about a little girl wandering through her neighborhood to get a paleta (pretty much a kind of popsicle). It is another book that brings influence from Latin American culture but is relatable to all students. What kid doesn't like a popsicle?
Profile Image for Vamos a Leer.
117 reviews10 followers
May 6, 2015
Round Is a Tortilla: A Book of Shapes by Roseanne Greenfield Thong is a children’s picture book that teaches about food and shapes featuring Hispanic objects.

Aimed towards younger children, the book is a light read (only 2-4 lines per page). Even so, it encourages readers to further engage by searching out shapes in the illustrations and answering questions like in the following passage, “I find ovals at the store,/huevos, olives, beans galore./Can you name a couple more?” This interactive engagement makes this book a great choice to read aloud to your class, or read closely one-on-one with a student.

The book is multicultural because of its portrayal of foods and objects that stem from Latino culture, including tortillas, tacos, Abuela’s stew, paletas (popsicles), masa (dough from corn flour), guacamole, sandia (watermelon), and more. It also features scenes that represent Latino traditions such as grinding corn into masa, and a multi-generational family celebration involving dancing and mariachi music. You will also find that the book works as a great introduction to bilingual literature, as there are Spanish terms interspersed throughout, which readers can look up in the provided glossary at the end.

The illustrations are painted with streaking brush strokes in such a way that they add rustic texture to the scenes painted on the pages. The illustrator also pays close attention to paint clean, careful, and deliberate lines for details such as corn husks and papel picado. The diverse color palette and beautifully depicted emotional expressions of the subjects are sure to keep readers engaged.

In short, this is a great picture book to utilize to get children to identify shapes and introduce them to Spanish terms. The representation of Latino food, traditions and cultural objects makes it a valuable addition to any library hoping to include more multicultural literature.
To read our full review including links to classroom resources, visit the Vamos a Leer blog at http://tiny.cc/vamosaleer
Profile Image for Paige Joerger.
15 reviews
April 22, 2015
This is the second multicultural picture book I chose.

Text-to-text connection: This book goes really well with its sister book, "Green is a Chile Pepper", by the same author- Roseanne Greenfield Thong. Both are primary books that I believe would be great for pre-school and kindergarten who are learning their shapes and colors. The illustrations are very colorful and vibrant and make the books even more appealing and fun to read. The glossary at the end is a great tool as well for kids to learn new vocabulary, especially in a different language! Furthermore, it has another sister book by the same author called "Round is a Mooncake", another multicultural book about shapes in a girl's neighborhood.

Text-to-self connection: Again, this book makes me imagine myself teaching in a dual-language/ bilingual classroom, or to ESL kids. I could see myself reading this book to a class right before recess time, and then challenging my students to pick out maybe 3 things that they see or play on and to name each of their shapes.

Text-to-world connection: I think this book could also be used as an anticipatory set for a Pre-K or Kindergarten math lesson. Math is a very challenging subject, so reading a fun book about shapes before teaching a lesson on shapes can engage kids' minds and make them want to learn about them. I also think that from this book, kids will be able to make real-world connections with every-day items they use, naming their shapes. For example: my cereal bowl I eat out of every morning is a circle!
51 reviews
December 9, 2014
Book Information:
The genre of this book is multicultural. The reading level of this book is ages three-five.
This book is a rhyming book that gives common Spanish words for shapes. Some shapes used in the book are square, circle, oval, and triangle. It teaches children common objects in both English and Spanish. This book would be great for teaching a classroom that was multicultural. Also, the only negative thing I found with this book is that some of the Spanish words could be too difficult for the age it is geared towards and the spellings of those words could be too difficult.
Instructional Information:
You could use this book in a kindergarten class to help students learn shapes and associate shapes with different objects.
Contextual Information:
The themes of this book are shapes and multicultural. Mexican ethnicities are addressed in this book along with both female and male genders. This book is written for both genders and appeals to young readers. What I enjoyed about this book was the use of shapes connecting them to mexican items and using Spanish words.

Thong, R., & Parra, J. (2013). Round is a tortilla. Chronicle Books LLC.
Profile Image for Sara Stelmach.
31 reviews5 followers
October 24, 2017

“Round is a Tortilla” by Roseanne Thong is a Latino multicultural book. This book uses the repetition of sentences starting with a shape like round or square in order to introduce things from the Latino cultural. For example, one page states “ Round are campanas that chime and ring” and their is a depiction of a bell. This way it can use Spanish words and the reader can infer what they mean. Another example is one page state's ‘Square are ventanas that give a view” with a drawing of a window. This book is phenomenal and helps introduce Latino culture in an easy to understand way. It also could be a good book to use for a child learning Spanish. I think this book would be great to use in the elementary classroom when learning about Latino culture. Further, the illustrations are beautiful. Many of the pages use a pastel color palette with a lot of added details like a flower in the young girl's hair while she plays scrabble. I would recommend this book to be read aloud to kindergarten through 3rd grade learning about cultures or Spanish.
Profile Image for Cindy Hudson.
Author 14 books23 followers
April 16, 2013
Round Is a Tortilla is a picture book that helps kids learn shapes as well as a few words in Spanish. Written by Roseanne Greenfield Thong, the story follows two Latino children as they dance, cook, play games, read and enjoy other activities in the world around them. They see shapes in normal, everyday things like the round moon, a square fountain, rectangular flags, triangle-shaped slices of watermelon, and oval pebbles.

John Parra’s illustrations include many other objects in the featured shapes, some of which are Latino in origin. These include sombreros, tortillas, ventanas, paletas, metates, guacamole, and huevos. A glossary in the back helps out both kids and any parents who are not familiar with these terms.

Each page has lots of shapes to discover in things all around us. Round Is a Tortilla is sure to help kids look for the shapes in everyday objects in their own world.

The publisher provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
6 reviews
September 20, 2016
Round Is a Tortilla: A Book of Shapes is a children's picture book about different types of shapes and incorporates Latino culture and the Spanish language into the text as well. It is engaging and informative. On each page there is at least one Spanish noun that reflects the shape being described. There is a glossary section in the back where students can learn Spanish vocabulary, but the pictures in the text give the students clues as to what the words might mean in English. This will help the students with learning foreign language because they will have visuals to help them figure out the different vocabulary words. Because it is for such a young age group, the text does not delve deeply into the topic of multiculturalism, but does so in an appropriate way that is not overwhelming for readers. I would definitely recommend this to a classroom so that they can engage with another culture that may or may not be reflective of their own.
50 reviews
April 25, 2018
Round is a Tortilla is a book about shapes. It follows the lives of two young Mexican-American children as they go to baseball games, parks and other familiar places. At each place they go shapes are pointed out all around them. This story is told in rhyming prose using both English and Spanish words. The illustrations are big and bright and help to highlight both the shapes and some important aspects about the Mexican culture. There is also a glossary in the back given a definition to the Spanish words used within the text.
I rated this book a five. This book does so many things for young readers. First it introduces them to shapes and helps them realize how to identify them everywhere in the world around them. Second, it introduces them to rhyming schemes and helps them better there reading skills. Third, it introduces them to basic words in the Mexican language and also different cultural norms.
75 reviews
May 31, 2016
This unique book talks about many different shapes (triangles, squares, circles, etc.) all while telling a story. This book also includes many different Spanish words, helping the readers to learn new words while learning about shapes.

The illustrations in this book are extremely detailed and there is a lot of complexity within them. They are drawn first and then are painted, all with the same sort of colors like oranges and reds. There was a lot to look at with the illustrations and often times it was overwhelming- but they were also very beautiful.

I found this book to be a fun way to learn new Spanish words, all while learning about shapes. This could be great for young readers and is an exciting way for them to learn.
45 reviews13 followers
March 2, 2017
Round is a Tortilla is a book about shapes. It talks about round (circle), square, rectangles, and triangles while going through a Spanish culture and using some Spanish vocabulary.

I loved reading this book because I think it has so much to offer in the classroom! The illustrations fit the book perfectly and they also really helped tell the story and decipher the Spanish vocabulary words.

This book could be used for so many things for so many different ages. It teaches shapes to younger children, it teaches some Spanish vocabulary, and it teaches how to use the illustrations to figure out what a word means. I think that this is a wonderful book to use for all ages and I would recommend it to anyone!
Profile Image for Erica Massarelli.
30 reviews57 followers
October 6, 2017
Round Is a Tortilla by Roseanne Thong is a multicultural book, intended to not only teach children words in Spanish and English, but also to teach about shapes and rhyming. This book is a wonderful book for younger students who are learning their shapes and starting to recognize rhyme schemes. Through the pages, Thong did a beautiful job using popular places and items to immerse students into the Mexican culture. The illustrations are beautiful and include many familiar things to kids. I can imagine how fun it is to read this story with little kids and have them guess what the different Spanish words mean, based on the clues and illustrations. This book does a nice job of covering a few different important teaching topics for kids, while highlighting a beautiful culture.
Profile Image for Emilia P.
1,704 reviews49 followers
June 15, 2013
The art in this book is awesome! I wanted to look into every corner of every picture and find every shape and cultural reference I could identify and learn a little more about them. It is also kind of helpful for me since I'm going to Mexican-culture-heavy Texas really soon! So I want to get more in tune with the resources for bilingual and bicultural learning. The text is just a little bit bumpy, squeezing in Spanish words, sometimes glaringly but mostly smoothly -- and with a glossary at the end! It's not perfect, but it's really good. The warm colors and slightly retro vibe of the illustrations really make it super-inviting. And it makes me hungry. So there.
Profile Image for Jim Erekson.
599 reviews33 followers
October 16, 2013
Parra's folk-style illustrations were fun to look at. I am still thinking about the pages where he did a bird's eye view of a town square and park. but the pictures did not salvage the experience of the book.
There was no reason this book needed to rhyme. Many of the rhymes felt forced and distracted from the presentation of everyday culture through the lens of a shapes concept. Also, the fact that Thong started with 'round' instead of 'circle' made me expect to read about more generalized shape concepts like round, angular, zig zag, curve. That would have been a fresh take instead of the same old shape catalog.
25 reviews
March 19, 2015
I really enjoyed reading this book. I thought it was a really cute book and I like the flow of the book. I like that it rhymed a lot and I like how the objects that was talked about in the book were in spanish. Also it's a good book for students to understand shapes better and to also look at the picture to see if they can find all the shapes that are being talked about in the book. The last thing i really liked about the book was that at the end of the story it had a glossary and all the words that were in spanish or the shapes and objects that were talked about in the story were all in the glossary to help students if the are unsure of what the word means.
23 reviews
November 5, 2015
“This is my second Multicultural book.”
Round is a Tortilla: A book of Shapes by Roseanne Thong is a wonderful book for younger children. This book teaches children shapes using objects that are found in Hispanic culture. Roseanne Thong ensured that our kiddos think deeper about shapes of objects at the same time as thinking about things they encounter in their household. I think this is a great way to teach children new things at the same time as making them aware of those things that they have at home such as tortilla, sombrero etc.
This book would be wonderful for Bilingual Kindergarten Classrooms where curriculum is thought in English and Spanish.
Profile Image for Jana.
2,587 reviews35 followers
January 20, 2016
I really enjoyed this concept book, because it's not just for young children. Ostensibly a book of shapes, it shares with so many words and ideas from Hispanic culture. The author has included so much information about the Spanish language, food, and leisure activities that I learned quite a bit from this book.

John Parra's illustrations are so colorful and rich. I just want to climb into each picture and hang around eating and enjoying the fun.

There is a glossary at the end to explain each term in detail. I wish that the author had included pronunciation keys along with the definitions.
Profile Image for Barbara.
12.9k reviews265 followers
January 11, 2013
Although I love the cultural flavor this concept book has in its text sprinkled with Spanish terms and its colorful, movement-filled paint illustrations, some pages try to do too much and may confuse young readers since there are so many shapes to identify. Readers learn to identify various objects that are round, square, rectangles, triangles, and ovals. Most of the rhyming lines are fun to read aloud although some are a bit clunky. The last two pages are filled with several shapes for readers to pick out. A glossary defines unfamiliar words.
73 reviews2 followers
February 21, 2016
This beautifully painted picture book goes through six different shapes and incorporates Latino culture into the book by having some of the objects be mainly from their culture. The book is embedded with spanish words and in the back of the book there is a glossary for these words.

This would be a wonderful book to bring into the classroom to introduce Latino culture and incorporate the learning of some spanish words. The illustrations represent the colorful culture and capture the readers eye. The book even engages the reader by asking what shapes we can think of. Loved this book!
Profile Image for Erin Christian.
45 reviews1 follower
March 2, 2017
This book tells all about shapes of different items. It has many colorful illustrations, and spanish words to go along with it. It also includes a glossary in the back which would be so helpful for kids. I loved the way this book is set up. YOu can teach so many things with this. Spanish, how to look things up in a glossary, pictures, shapes, meanings of words, and the list goes on! This is definitely an all ages friendly book. It will work, and be fun for multiple grade levels! I would do literally everything with this book!
75 reviews
November 17, 2017
This book uses common items particularly in Mexican culture and relates them to shapes. Some of the words are left in Spanish and a glossary is included in the back to help translate the words. As a future bilingual teacher, this book is exciting to me. It could be used in early elementary classrooms to help with shape recognition and being able to see shapes out of context and in the world around us. The illustrations are done in paint.
Thong, R. G., & Parra, J. (2015). Round is a tortilla: a book of shapes. Mankato, MN: Amicus Publishing.
Profile Image for Kelsey.
2,310 reviews55 followers
February 16, 2022
Age: 1 years - preschool

Thong uses a rolling rhythm as she explores the shapes in our lives. Its uniqueness comes from the smattering of Spanish words throughout and the focus on a Latino lifestyle and the shapes existing within that culture. Thong occasionally asks the reader to find the shapes and objects described in the images that are full of noticeable shape examples. A simple subject such as shapes could easily be trashed but Thong pulls it off with class.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 177 reviews

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