Mice and Beans

Written by: Pam Munoz Ryan
Illustrated by Joe Cepeda

Little Catalina is turning seven and her abuelita, Rosa Maria, is going to throw a fiesta to remember…of only she could remember to put out the mousetraps! All week Rosa Maria prepares for the party, and all week things disappear, one by one. Rosa Maria is sure the party will still be a hit, but there is something Rosa Maria is sure she forgot, besides the traps. Will she remember in time to save the party?

This book blends Spanish words with English text in such a fluid way that you almost forget they are different! Rosa Maria is such a positive thinking abuelita, that the party she gives is just as fun as watching her get ready for it. Don’t miss the fiesta of mice and beans!

Discussion/Project Ideas:

1. Ms. Ryan describes common attributes of a Spanish celebration. Divide into groups of four and have each group choose a culture. (Ex. Italian, French, German, Russian) Each group should design and present a poster depicting common attributes of a celebration in their chosen culture.

2. The best way to learn new words (in your own language or a new one) is to use them often. Collect all the Spanish words and phrases found in the book and display them around the room. Give tally marks to students each time they appropriately use the words and then them build up to a privilege, like being first in line.
– This can cross over to new vocabulary in any book.

3. The world is getting smaller and different languages are heard all over our country. Take the words and phrases you collected above and use an online translator to learn how to say them in another language. This can also be done in groups and then presented to the class. An extension would be to have them search for commonalities between the languages.

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