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Too Many Tamales

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  4,500 ratings  ·  514 reviews
Christmas Eve started out so perfectly for Maria. Snow had fallen and the streets glittered. Maria's favorite cousins were coming over and she got to help make the tamales for Christmas dinner. It was almost too good to be true when her mother left the kitchen for a moment and Maria got to try on her beautiful diamond ring . . .

This is the story of a treasure thought to be
Paperback, 32 pages
Published August 8th 1996 by Puffin Books (first published January 1st 1993)
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Average rating 4.14  · 
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 ·  4,500 ratings  ·  514 reviews

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Dec 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: eating, ho-ho-ho, kidstuff
It's Christmas Eve, and the family is getting together. Maria is in the kitchen helping her mother make tamales for dinner, and she just can't resist trying on her mother's ring. Though this story seems less like a Christmas book, and more a lesson on telling the truth, it's pretty funny, and the illustrations by Ed Martinez are warm, inviting, and simply beautiful - particularly the facial expressions.

Lisa  (not getting friends updates) Vegan
This is a wonderful family story, a special story about a young girl’s mistake and the funny and sweet and mature way everyone deals with it, and my kind of holiday story: one where the holiday itself is peripheral and therefore doesn’t make me melancholy. Also, it’s interesting to read about a different (for me) kind of Christmas tradition. It also doesn’t hurt that I love tamales and it was interesting to see this family make them – two batches as it turns out. So, it’s both amusing and heartf ...more
Dec 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
When I first borrowed Too Many Tamales the librarian told me it was a really good and highly recommended it. He was absolutely right.

My son was so excited to read Too Many Tamales because tamales are his favorite food. The story was really cute and I could easily see one of my daughters doing something like Maria did.

The illustrations were pretty good and they looked pretty realistic.

Overall, I really enjoyed the story, as did my son. If you love tamales and want a good laugh you should read
I chose to read this with my students (Kindergarteners) wanting primarily to expand their conception of what Christmas can look like within the traditions of different families. Soto & Martinez' story mirrored the experiences of my students (who are primarily white, middle/upper class) closely enough that they could recognize themselves in the images (Christmas tree, family and friends gathering together, preparing food for visitors, Christmas clothes, etc.) while also being asked them to includ ...more
May 04, 2010 rated it really liked it
I really liked this one! I just love the warmth and humor in the illustrations and the story is so perfect in how it captures the inner turmoil of the girl and, gosh, it was so funny discovering why the title is "Too Many Tamales" ;-p I also just really appreciated the feeling of family and togetherness that the story brought, especially in the final scenes with everyone in the kitchen. It was also nice to see that the adults weren't too harsh on the girl, knowing she had already realized the er ...more
Crystal Marcos
Apr 26, 2010 rated it really liked it
When I first received the book the first thing I noticed was the expression on the childrens faces. One that I thought would be a priceless family photo if I owned it. I read the book to both my baby girl and my husband. The first thing I noticed looking at the illustrations was how dark they were. As I read on, those illustrations turned from being dark to warm to me. It reminded me of what it is like on a cold winters night with Christmas lights and maybe a warm fire lit near by. You don't hav ...more
Dec 06, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Readers Looking for Loving Family Stories Set at Christmas-Time
Delighted at the opportunity to help her mother make tamales for their Christmas celebration, Maria - dressed up in her mother's apron, and wearing (by special permission!) some lipstick and perfume - is tempted to try on her mother's diamond ring. Caught up in the joy of the holiday, and the pleasure of participating in "adult" things, Maria forgets all about the ring, until she realizes it is missing! Now she and her cousins must eat ALL of the tamales, in the hopes of finding it...

A charming
Nov 07, 2020 rated it liked it
The adults here are more patient than I am... I don't think that I'd have laughed after seeing the first batch of tamales effectively go to waste. Trying on the ring, not so bad... enlisting cousins to try to get away with it, very bad.

But, it's a funny story that happens at a family Christmas gathering, so good for those of us who respect but don't celebrate the holiday.
Apr 19, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This is one of those rare occasions where I read a book detailing the family traditions of a Mexican American family! “Too Many Tamales” is a children's book by Gary Soto along with illustrations by Ed Martinez and it is about a young girl named maria who was helping her mother make tamales for the Christmas dinner. Later on, Maria tried on her mother's precious ring while she was still making the tamales and when she met up with her cousins Dolores, Teresa and Danny, she realized that she left ...more
(NS) Laura Jackson
Too Many Tamales was written by Gary Soto and illustrated by Ed Martinez. This book was published by The Putnam and Grosset Group in 1993. This book is about a young girl, Maria, and her cousins. Maria is fascinated by her mother’s wedding ring, and always wants to try it on. Maria’s mother leaves her wedding ring sitting on the kitchen table, so Maria decides to try it on. Shortly after she puts the ring on, she and her cousins begin making tamales for a holiday party. They have to knead the ma ...more
Megan Denney
Sep 14, 2017 rated it liked it
Maria and her mother are spending Christmas Eve in the kitchen making tamales. Marie loves being able to feel grown up as she helps her mom in the kitchen. She also loved feeling grown up about wearing her mother's diamond ring. When her mom slips out of the kitchen for a phone call Maria she thought she would just wear it for minute. She begin to kneed the dough with diamond ring on with the ring reappearing in the sticky dough each time she needed. When her mother returned, the mother, dad and ...more
Adam Zaobiedny
Title: Too Many Tamales
Author: Gary Soto
Illustrator: Ed Martinez
Publisher: The Putnam & Grosset Group
Year Originally Published: 1993 Approximate Interest Level / Reading Level: 2nd - 3rd grade

Gary Soto has written a touching story of a young girl named Maria who loses her mother’s wedding ring as she makes tamales for a holiday celebration during the Christmas season. Maria wears her mother's ring when her mother takes it off to start kneading the masa (dough) for the tamales. While she bakes
Jun 03, 2013 rated it liked it
Too Many Tamales is the story of Maria Whois happy to be grown up and helping her mother and father make tamales for their Christmas dinner celebration. But she also is hoping to look even more grown up and wear her mother's diamond ring. Later when her cousins come over she realizes that the ring is gone and is afraid it fell into the tamale dough. Maria tries to solve the problem and find the ring, with the help of her cousins, but realizes that she will have to admit to her mother what happen ...more
Dec 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing

So Maria and her mother are making tamales for Christmas dinner and while she is helping her mother mix the masa together her mother leaves her ring on the counter. Maria really loves this ring so when she tries it on and loses it and doesn't realize it oh no. What can Maria do. While visiting with her cousins she remembers the ring and it is up to her and her cousins to find this ring. What will happen with the tamales as it has to be in there right?
Apr 19, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: picture-books

I think that the book is too stereotypical. For the most part there are a lot of women in the kitchen. I do not like this because it conveys a message to girls that they always have to be in the kitchen. At the end of the story there are only women making the tamales while the men are standing in the back. The book also contains stereotypical names and food items.
The book does convey accurate relationships between Hispanics because they are very family based. In the story aunts and uncles come
It is the best time of the year; it is Christmas time! Maria, the main character of the story, is surrounded by her family on Christmas Eve which is when most Mexican families get together to celebrate Christmas with food and each others company. Maria's night takes an expected turn when she sees her mom's shiny, diamond ring, decides to try it on AND THEN helps makes tamales! What could go wrong?
I really enjoyed this story for the pictures were an amazing depiction on what goes on in the kitch
Jacqueline Ford
Nov 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book is about a young girl named Maria who is helping to make Tamales, a traditional family dish during the holiday season. Maria tries on her mothers ring without permission and panics when she realizes it may be missing. In the end, her mother had the ring the whole time!
I liked this book. It was a wonderful multicultural book to use during the holiday season to discuss different traditions and foods that families may have at a holiday dinner. This book could also be used to discuss the
Jan 09, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
This is a funny story that demonstrates how some cousins come to the rescue when a little girl makes a big mistake.

Unfortunately, they could all have avoided an upset stomach if little Maria had just confessed her mistake to her mother right away, but in the end all is well.

The illustrations are fairly dark, but very expressive and we all enjoyed reading this book together at bedtime. Good Christmas story.

This story was selected as one of the books for the May 2010 - Latino reads at the Pictur
Jessica Harnish
Nov 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: multicultural
This is family story starring Maria and her cousins. They are together making tamales for Christmas Eve when Maria tries on her mother's diamond ring and believes it to have been baked in the tamales. Maria and her cousins get busy eating all of the tamales to find her mother's ring.

I thought this was such a funny family story that I could relate too. It sounds like something my cousins and I would do together. I enjoyed Maria's story of her family tradition of making tamales on Christmas Eve.

Marcos Perez
Too Many Tamales is a story that follows a young girl named Maria and her family. They decided to make some tamales before their extended family arrives for the holidays. As they are making the filling for the Tamales, Maria decides to put her mother’s wedding ring on and this causes an issue, because she accidentally loses the ring in the filling. Throughout the book her and her cousins try to find it without getting the adults involved, but long story short Maria had to tell her mother what sh ...more
Carolina Musawwir
Oct 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: wow-books
This book is Realistic Fiction but can also be classified as a Mystery.
With beautiful authentic illustrations, this story gives us a glimpse of a Latin family gathering for the holidays. This is not a very long and wordy book but the reader gets a lot from the face expressions and scenery, which is wonderful. I really enjoyed the tenderness and affection that emanates from the interactions between the characters. My English Language Learners loved this book since they identified with the charact
Andrea Salcedo
Jan 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book. I remember reading this book as a child but it was nice to revisit this book after so long because I can honestly say I didn't remember the outcome. Also, I read this book this time around in spanish so it was interesting reading the choice in words he used. What I like the most about this book, was that I definitely had its relatable points such as, making tamales for christmas. This was a good book overall. ...more
May 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: diverse-lit
I really enjoyed reading this book. It was relatable. Not everyone makes tamales, but lots of people get together with families and the younger ones "get into trouble" (try on and lose the ring) and try to find a way to get out of it before the adults find out. I found my self smiling and laughing reading this book. I would recommend this book to be enjoyed by young readers. This book would be a lot of fun in the classroom! ...more
RLL22016_Sandra Trujillo
This book is rich in Mexican culture and how we celebrate Christmas Eve. It has beautiful illustrations that have great detail on what are tamales and how they are made. I feel that this story is wonderful for children because it has a moral to the story Maria the little girl loses a diamond ring in the batch of tamales she grabbed without asking. This book definitely knows how to keep the reader in suspense.
M.K. Aneal
Dec 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
I had to read this story aloud for several classes I subbed for in Spanish. This is a fun book to read aloud, with many laughable and teachable moments. A moral story about just being honesty and doing the right thing (and how it'd keep you from eating too many tamales).

(Some kids thought "The Ring," would've been a better title. 😜💍)

Jesus loves you!

Dec 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-s
An excellent book for several reasons.

It's great to have a Christmas book that shows other ways of celebrating Christmas.

The way the children and adults act is also praiseworthy. The kids band together to help, even though it's unpleasant. The adults are caring and understanding, but in a way that I could actually envision happening in real life instead of being a unrealistic paragons of kindness.
May 16, 2010 rated it really liked it
This is a very cute story about a girl who makes a mistake and gets her cousins to try and help bail her out. Not too successfully - but nobody is hurt and nothing is lost. All's well that ends well. The illustrations are precious! Illustrator Ed Martinez captures the varied emotions that all the characters experience in a wonderful way that makes you feel like you are part of the family. ...more
Maria Allison
I enjoyed reading this story about Maria who lost her mother’s ring while making tamales and made her cousins help her eat all of the tamales to find it. It was simple, yet funny. I could see my students from South America appreciating and relating to the latino characters. I could also see myself, a teacher, using this story as a mentor text during a unit on narrative writing.
Jan 23, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: differences
One of my parents made tamales for the class, and I used it to introduce our lesson on measurements in math! The students totally enjoyed the tasting of their first tamale and was extremely interested to see how food could be tied to math!
Dec 04, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: ellie, jacob, mom
After going to our local tamale festival it was fun to read this Christmas book about eating too many tamales and why they did so. Teaching kids the consequences of giving in to our wants..krb 12/3/16
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Gary Soto, born April 12, 1952, was raised in Fresno, California. He is the author of eleven poetry collections for adults, most notably New and Selected Poems, a 1995 finalist for both the Los Angeles Times Book Award and the National Book Award. His poems have appeared in many literary magazines, including Ploughshares, Michigan Quarterly, Poetry International, and Poetry, which

has honored him w

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