Monday, January 25, 2010

Author Challenge: Joy Cowley

Big Moon Tortilla
Joy Cowley and Illustrated by Dyanne Strongbow
About The Book:
From School Library Journal

Kindergarten-Grade 3-A picture book set on a Tohono O'odham (Papago) reservation in southern Arizona. When the aroma of Grandmother's fresh tortillas fills her room, Marta Enos begins to daydream about them. Her toes twitch and her legs just can't wait to run to the cookhouse. She hurries off for a sample, but knocks over a table on the way. The wind picks up her homework papers and scatters them. The dogs outside think it's a game, and they eat her assignment. As Marta tries to regroup, her glasses fall off, she steps on them, and they break. Grandmother is sympathetic and offers the child a tortilla as "big and pale as a rising full moon" as well as wise words of advice from a Native American proverb about dealing with adverse situations. Watercolor illustrations in muted tones enhance this sweet tale.

Book Review:
We enjoy reading this book but I felt it was a little bit over my kids head. I would recommend this book for children over the age of 6 and up. The illustrations are all done in beautiful watercolors. The kids loved the pictures but had a hard time grasping the concept of the book. I will be reading this book tonight to my oldest. I'm sure he will greatly enjoy the book and the message at the end of the book about not throwing tempter tantrums and how to respond to problems we face in everyday life. The story is beautiful and so is the book.
Learning Activity:
1st activity is to make homemade tortillas. My kids love to use their hands so this activity was a huge hit. Sorry, no pictures...I'm out of memory space.
Homemade Tortilla

4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons lard
1 1/2 cups water

Whisk the flour, salt, and baking powder together in a mixing bowl. Mix in the lard with your fingers until the flour resembles cornmeal. Add the water and mix until the dough comes together; place on a lightly floured surface and knead a few minutes until smooth and elastic. Divide the dough into 24 equal pieces and roll each piece into a ball.

Preheat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Use a well-floured rolling pin to roll a dough ball into a thin, round tortilla. Place into the hot skillet, and cook until bubbly and golden; flip and continue cooking until golden on the other side. Place the cooked tortilla in a tortilla warmer; continue rolling and cooking the remaining dough.
The second activity is watercolors. I gave each child their own set of watercolors and brushes to paint their own pictures from the book. The following two pictures are mine not the kids. Like I stated early...I'm out of memory space. I thought my painting turned out very well. Maybe I should take up a watercolor painting class.
Joy Cowley is a wonderful author...her books are geared towards children with such powerful messages. Parents and children will both enjoy this book together and the tortillas are yummy!

1 comment:

Ticia said...

Wow! Your painting turned out wonderful. I'll second your thought of taking an art class.