Saturday, April 6, 2019

Review: Holy Squawkamole! by Susan Wood

by Susan Wood
Illustrated by Laura Gonzalez
Sterling Children's Books
Picture Book
40 pages
ages 4 to 8

This tasty takeonthe classic Little Red Hen story has a deliciously spicy twist! 

Yum, guacamole! That’s what Little Red Hen craves, and she could use some help gathering and mashing the ingredients. So she asks her friends, including an armadillo, snake, and iguana, to lend a hand. Every one just says “no.” But after Little Red Hen works hard to make the scrumptious fresh guac, all the animals want a taste. In a fun departure from the original tale, Little Red Hen cooks up a comeuppance for the slackers that they’ll never forget!


This is a retelling of Little Red Hen with a spicy, delicious twist.

The hen wants to make a scrumptious guacamole, but she's missing a few ingredients. That's fine; fresh is always best. And off she goes to get them, but the different vegetables, fruits and spices aren't as easy to pluck as she'd hoped. Another animal is always there who could help, but they're wrapped up in predicaments of their own, forcing her to do it all by herself. When the guacamole is ready, she asks who wants to eat it. Of course, all are ready to jump in. But this hen has planted a small surprise.

It's not hard to see the original story twisted into this guacamole surprise, but it still comes across fun and fresh. The cast of characters is original and fitting to the culture, not to mention the well-laid dab into the culture, which is sure to enrich the knowledge of little listeners. The text is simple enough for the younger aged listening groups and yet exciting enough for the slightly older too. Sprinkle in the fun outbursts—Holy Squawkamole!—and it's a delight for kids, especially as a read aloud.

The illustrations are bright and bold, and depict everything with enough reality to pull in to the scenes and inform young listeners at the same time. The emotions and animal characters' quirks come across nicely as well.

At the end of the book, there are several factual pages. The history of guacamole as well as a recipe insure young listeners will come out knowing more and be ready to gain hands on experience by creating their own delicious food.

And here they are...

The Author...
Susan Wood is an award-winning author of books for young readers, including American Gothic: The Life of Grant Wood (Abrams, 2017) and Elizabeth Warren: Nevertheless She Persisted (Abrams, 2018). She lives in Norfolk, VA., and is available for interview. Learn more about Susan and her books at

The Illustrator...
Laura Gonzalez is an illustrator who works in traditional and digital mediums. She is a member of the Mexican Association of Illustrators, and lives in Mnterrey, Mexico. 

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