Burro's Tortillas

Feathered Quill Book Reviews - April 2010

Based on the children's classic story, The Little Red Hen, Burro's Tortillas tells the entertaining tale of a burro who discovers a corn crop that is ripe for picking and making tortillas. So he sets off one day to gather the corn and decides to enlist his three friends, the bobcat, coyote and jackrabbit to help him. Unfortunately, little Burro quickly finds out that his friends are not only uninterested in corn picking, they are too busy or feel the hard work is beneath them, so he ends up doing all the work of removing the kernels, washing and grinding them, making the dough balls and baking it entirely by himself. It's a job that is quite extensive and tiresome! Finally, when the smell of fresh tortillas floats into the air, Burro's friends come running over to help the tortillas that is, but will he take them up on their offer at this point?

Burro's Tortillas is an adorable, whimsical story that includes lovely illustrations, a glance into a different culture and their tortilla making process, and even has a little lesson “twist” about cooperation and helping others. The author has a wonderful knack for mixing together puns, humor, and both English and Spanish words into well developed and memorable characters that will entertain and educate not only children, but even curious adults. To further enhance the reading experience of this great book,Arbordale Publishing has included (at the end of the story) a section entitled 'For Creative Minds,' which specifically includes a few quizzes, a tortilla recipe and also online resources that are packed full of educational materials, related websites and English/Spanish audiobooks.

Quill says: Come visit little burro in his tortilla making adventures, and who knows, maybe you'll want to make some of your own tortillas too! -Lynette Latzko

Kirkus Review - May 15 2007

Those looking for a Southwestern or Mexican variant of The Little Red Hen will find it here.  Burro, dressed in overalls and a chile-bedecked shirt, calls his friends to help him pick the corn to make tortillas: “Whinee aw ah aw. Mis amigos—vengan aquí.” Bobcat, coyote and jackrabbit in turn respond, “Yo no,” and add punning explanations. “I’ve really got to hop along,” says the jackrabbit...The main interest is in the cultural variation on the traditional story, and the demonstration of the process of making tortillas. An appendix contains information on corn, a recipe for tortillas and a Spanish-English vocabulary page with space to write...“Yo,” as the jackrabbit says, “Hare’s looking at you, let’s eat!” (Picture book. 4-7)

Book Talk - October 2007

One sunny day a little burro saw that the corn had grown very tall. And right away, he thought, Tortillas! So begins the Spanish version of The Little Red Hen. This old time favorite is sprinkled with Spanish for a different twist to an old favorite. The burro is the star of this story, doing all the work, while getting nothing but excuses from his lazy friends. The bobcat, the coyote and the jackrabbit all have a variety of reasons why they cannot pick the corn, remove the kernels, grind the corn, and prepare the dough. "Yo no," they all shouted their unwillingness to help the little burro. They complained, played cards, took naps, and just made excuses.

The little burro diligently follows the step by step process of making fresh tortillas. Finally he has done all the work himself and he begins to cook the tortillas on a flat griddle, turning them over and over until he has a big basket full. The bobcat, the coyote, and the jackrabbit are drawn to the wonderful smell of fresh baked tortillas. They are all willing to help little burro eat the finished product. He was about to share with his lazy friends when he realizes, he doesn't need any help eating the tortillas, so he eats them all himself.

I always learn many things when reading Arbordale books and this one was no exception. It is sprinkled with Spanish words and there is a Spanish/English vocabulary section in the back of the book. "For Creative Minds" features interesting facts about corn. The history of corn along with a recipe how to make eight tortillas is featured on the last page. Make a batch and enjoy!

Arbordale books are available at your favorite local or online bookstore. Check out their webstie at for other others and fun things to do. -Shirley LaBusier

Armchair Interviews - July 2007

When Burro discovers that the corn has grown tall, he can think of only one thing. Tortillas! But Burro has a hard time getting his friends inspired to help him in even one step of the tortilla-making process. Well, maybe just the one tasty step.

In this Southwestern retelling of The Little Red Hen, children are exposed to the traditional process of tortilla making. In addition, they may pick up a little Spanish. Also, as Arbordale does, there are activities in the final pages “For Creative Minds,” which expand upon some of the things touched on in the book.

My children really enjoyed this story. There are bright, lively illustrations that stimulate little minds and a familiar plot that makes them exclaim with delight, “Hey! This is like….” We all enjoyed figuring out what the Spanish words meant and learning how corn tortillas are made.

As far as read-aloud potential, it was a wash. There are quite a few Spanish words that I found unfamiliar (after three years of Spanish classes) and no pronunciation guide for them. So, for the more “perfectionistic” of us, the children may be taught incorrectly. However, the puns are wonderfully entertaining. So, after you figure out how to pronounce the Spanish, you will probably enjoy reading this with your kids.

Armchair Interviews says: A mix of fine illustrations and a good story. - Jamie Driggers

Nola Baby Magazine - July/August 2007

Cross the Little Red Hen with a burro and his friends and you’ll get this Southwestern retelling of the children’s classic. Burro works hard to turn corn into tortillas, with no assistance from his three amigos, bobcat, coyote, and jackrabbit. In addition to the important message about helping one’s friend, there are fun puns throughout the book and a “for Creative Minds” section for older children that includes a recipe for tortillas.
-Leslie Penkunas, editor

Children's Literature Comprehensive Database - July 2007

Humor, wit, and all-in-all fun abound in this twist on The Little Red Hen story when Burro seeks out his friends the bobcat, coyote, and jackrabbit to help him make tortillas. But he is disappointed to discover that they are too busy sitting around, playing, “growling,” “howling,” “being all ears,” and napping. Burro goes through the steps of making tortillas without help and creates mouth-watering tortillas. Their wonderful smell attracts the slackers who want to partake of the food. However, Burro remembers how they failed to help with any of the tasks and instead he eats all the tortillas himself. Readers and listeners will delight in the puns and hilarious, vibrant illustrations. In addition, they will learn a valuable lesson. A plus to the text consists of Spanish words that can be understood with text and illustration hints. The repetitive phrases of “Yo no,” will allow children to participate after one or two reads. End of book activities include a matching came of corn products, Spanish and English word match-ups, and a recipe for making tortillas. Expect this book to fly off the shelves in classrooms and libraries. -Nancy Attebury

Young Adult ( + Kids) Book Central - 2008

This book is by far my favorite book to read. I love the pictures and it's funny. I'm six years old and love reading. Burro's Tortillas is very cool. I really really liked the part at the end. Oh, and I laughed a lot because it is pretty funny. The pictures are very good and fun to look at. - Lenny, 6-years-old

Children's Book Reviews - July 2007

If children like the nursery tale “Little Red Hen,” they will love Terri Field’s Spanish version in Burro’s Tortillas! This humorous tale of a burro who works hard to pick his corn and takes it through the process until the corn kernels becomes delicious tortillas. Yet, his friends bobcat, coyote, and jackrabbit aren’t interested in helping with the hard work until it comes time to eat the tortillas! The book introduces Spanish words like “tortilla”, “metate”, “yo no”, and “mis amigos”. What a delightful way to learn aspects of another culture and language. In addition, there is a recipe for tortillas in the activity section.

Sherry Rogers’ entertaining illustrations are back with Arbordale in this welcomed book. Children will eagerly spot baby burro in each spread, though he is not mentioned in the text. A preschool or early elementary class will have fun with a corn-growing unit, ending with the making of tortillas. A delightful, must have book for home and school libraries. - Judith Nasse

The Reading Tub - December 2007

Summary: The corn was so tall. According to the burrow, it was tall enough to make tortillas. So he called his friends -- coyote, bobcat and jackrabbit. Would they want to help him pick the corn and remove the kernels? No one volunteered. Grind the kernels and make the dough? No takers. When the tortillas were cooked, Burro's friends came running. They want to help him eat the tortillas. Can they help him now? This picture book builds Spanish words into a story, which offers a twist on the Little Red Hen.

Type of Reading: family reading, anytime reading, playtime reading, read aloud book

Recommended Age: read together: 3 to 9; read alone: 6 to 9

Age of Child: Shared with a Kindergarten class of children ages 5 and 6.

Little Kid Reaction: The children liked the story and the chance to practice their Spanish.

Big Kid Reaction: If you've read The Little Red Hen, you know the sequence of events. Still, this retelling -- with different animals and some Spanish mixed in -- offers a nice change. We enjoyed reading the book (and practicing our Spanish, too).

Pros: This picture book offers a different cultural version to the farmyard classic about fairness, work ethic, and personal achievement.

Cons: None.

Borrow or Buy: Borrow, at least. This is a nice way to introduce a new culture using an already familiar tale. The Spanish vocabulary is relatively basic, but goes beyond the usual set of "nouns" that are set out for the elementary crowd.

Stories for Children Magazine - February 2008

Poor little burro – he notices the white corn in the fields is very tall now, and it makes him hungry for tortillas! Thinking he could get the corn picked quicker with his friends helping, Burro seeks out Bobcat, Coyote, and Jackrabbit. All three make up excuses why they can't help. So Burro picks the corn himself. After he lugs the corn home, he needs to remove the kernels. Again, he asks his three friends for help; again, they have reasons why they can't help. And so it goes throughout the story. Burro has to do everything by himself with no help from his friends. It's a good thing burros are stubborn by nature! I loved the ending to this story, and thoroughly enjoyed learning how to make tortillas!

Author Terri Fields does a terrific job giving excellent voice to her four characters. Her story mixes together a vocabulary of Spanish words, the method used in the making of tortillas, and the way not to act if you're somebody's friend. She then sprinkles in some puns and fun words in her dialog, making this a fun book to read when coupled with the whimsical and vividly southwestern colored illustrations of Sherry Rogers. This is one of those quiet books that I highly recommend for young readers who want to read a fun story, learn some Spanish words, and learn how to make tortillas, all at the same time!

As with all Arbordale books, the story is followed by an educational section at the end "For Creative Minds" and includes: "Corn: From Plant To Table"; "A 'How Many Ways We Eat Corn' Activity"; "Making Tortillas: A Recipe"; and "A Spanish/English Vocabulary Matching Activity".

In addition, readers can find cross-curricular “Teaching Activities,” an audio reading, child-friendly “Learning Links,” and comprehension and math quizzes for free at -Gayle Jacobson-Huset

Reader's Haven Reviews - July 2013

The story is educational on several levels.  It follows the production of a famous Mexican food while exposing the readers to something about the culture of Mexico and Central America.  The story line introduces Spanish words as well as picturesque Mexican settings.  Finally, the author has built the
story around a moral to be learned:  he who wants to eat, should also be willing to work.