Grade Level Equivalent:
Guided Reading Level:
Comedy and Humor
Christmas, Mexican and Mexican American, Cooking, Extended Families, Ceremony and Tradition
While helping her parents make the tamales for Christmas dinner, Maria sees her mother set her precious diamond ring to the side. It's so beautiful! And Maria only means to try it on for a minute. Then, all of a sudden, the ring is gone. Does she spy it in the tamale dough? When Maria loses sight of it completely, she realizes what has happened.
In a panic, she corners her favorite cousins when they arrive, and together they come up with a plan: They'll secretly eat all 24 of the tamales and find the ring. It's not easy to eat so much...and, to make matters worse, by the time they finish, they still haven't found it — although Danny thinks he may have swallowed something hard.
When Maria goes to confess to her mother, she sees the diamond ring sparkling on her mother's finger. But now there are no tamales! "It looks like we all have to cook up another batch," says Aunt Rosa, and so they do, three generations joining together in the joyful holiday activity.