Mora, Pat. 2007. Yum! Mmmm! Que Rico!. Ill by. Rafael Lopez. New York: Lee & Low Books. ISBN: 9781584302711.
In this picture book, Pat Mora uses haiku to celebrate the various foods that are thought to be native to the Americas (South, Central, and North). The foods are listed alphabetically, beginning with blueberry, chile, and chocolate, and ending with pumpkin, tomato, and vanilla. In addition to the haiku, Mora also includes a short paragraph of informative text, pointing out that cranberries used to be called bounceberries and papayas can weigh up to twenty pounds, among many other facts.
This book is a celebration of food and culture, and how the two are intertwined. The faces of all the people are full of smiles, and the haiku speak of “party” and “magic” and “dance.” Children of all ages can appreciate this book. Very young children will enjoy the illustrations of yummy-looking food, young children can listen to someone read the haiku on each page, and older children can learn the facts about food. The full-page illustrations range from fanciful (children flying through the air) to realistic (a family sitting on the grass cracking pecans), but they are always very colorful and engaging.
In addition to the wonderful diversity of food, the illustrations show a diversity of ethnicity. There are a few white and African-American children, a Native American family, and many children with different shades of brown skin, who could be of Mexican heritage or from other Latin and South American countries. The food facts discuss how different cultures use (or have used) the foods. Some of the illustrations show the American Southwest or the tropics of Central America, and the landscapes look authentic, with details like a pueblo hut or a row of palm trees. Mora uses a few Spanish words throughout the text, which adds to the feeling of authenticity since many of the people in the Americas who use these foods speak Spanish.
Americas Award for Children’s Literature, 2008
Texas Bluebonnet Award Master List, 2008-2009
ALA Notable, 2008
“Artful compositions and brilliant complementary colors bear out the book's multicultural themes. The art conveys an infectious sense of fun, as smiling suns and moons beam down upon happy children and animals, along with a trumpet-wielding peanut-butter sandwich and a dancing pineapple.” School Library Journal
"Mora's descriptive poetry features wonderful word choices and gets it right to the essence of each food...Perfect for sharing as part of the curriculum or just for fun." Book Links
* This book celebrates food; for a book that celebrates books and reading, try Book Fiesta! – also written by Pat Mora and illustrated in the same cheerful, colorful way by Rafael Lopez.