The Cazuela That the Farm Maiden Stirred book cover image

The Cazuela That the Farm Maiden Stirred

  • 1795

By: Samantha R. Vamos / Illustrated by: Rafael López

A bilingual celebration with a delicious ending.

This is the story of how the farm maiden and all the farm animals worked together to make the rice pudding that they serve at the fiesta. With the familiarity of "The House That Jack Built," this story bubbles and builds just like the ingredients of the arroz con leche that everyone enjoys. Cleverly incorporating Spanish words, adding a new one in place of the English word from the previous page, this book makes learning the language easy and fun.

Rafael Lopez covers each page with vibrant, exuberant color, celebrating tradition and community.

Back matter includes a glossary of Spanish words and a recipe for arroz con leche—perfect for everyone to make together and enjoy at story time.

Look Inside the Book:

Author & Illustrator Bios:

Samantha R. Vamos, author

Samantha R. Vamos is the author of Before You Were Here, Mi Amor (Viking Children's Books), winner of the 2010 Washington State Book Award for Picture Book and The Scandiuzzi Children's Book Award, and The Cazuela That the Farm Maiden Stirred, a 2012 Pura Belpré Illustrator Honor Book.

Read more about Samantha.

Rafael López, illustrator

Rafael López is the illustrator of My Name is Celia/Me llamo Celia (Rising Moon Books), a Pura Belpré Honor Book and winner of the Américas Award.

Hear Rafael discuss The Cazuela That the Farm Maiden Stirred at

Read more about Rafael.


Awards & Honors:

  • NY Public Library's 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing
  • Texas 2x2 Reading List
  • Pura Belpré Illustrator Award honor book
  • NCSS/CBC Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People
  • NCTE Notable Children's Books in the Language Arts
  • CCBC Choices 2012
  • ALA Notable Children's Book
  • Bank Street College of Education's Best Children's Books of the Year
  • Reading is Fundamental's STEAM Multicultural Booklist

    Editorial Reviews:

    Kirkus Reviews, starred review

    With the help of her animal friends, a farm maiden begins to cook.

    The goat lends some butter; the cow, fresh milk; the chicken, a few eggs—all for a pot of rice pudding. Inspired by "The House that Jack Built," Vamos offers a fresh, new twist, playfully introducing Spanish into this cumulative tale. The pot becomes the cazuela; the goat, the cabra; the butter, the mantequilla; and so forth, until the text is bursting with bilingual energy. With each repetition, the momentum builds and bubbles until it reaches a boiling frenzy. Vamos then skillfully ties it all together, as each animal’s Spanish name and accompanying ingredient is reiterated in a simple phrase—allowing readers to recall their meaning and relationship to the rice pudding. A party ensues, and all return to the cazuela to give thanks and share in their communal creation. López’s artwork, with its desert palette punctuated by brilliant primary colors and its graphic, hard edges, suggestive of folk art, is a perfect match. His sophisticated, multilayered textures create depth, give form and work together to create an image that’s easily readable, humorous and harmonious. Complete with an arroz con leche recipe and glossary of Spanish words, this thoughtful work will appeal to both Spanish speakers and learners.

    A wonderful read-aloud, filled with merriment and conviviality.

    Language Arts

    One look at the cover art, and readers will want to join the parade of animals prancing behind a farm maiden as she dances across the sun-saturated landscape. As the story begins, the vibrant panorama disappears, and the reader is left with a table, covered in a green cloth, set against a white background, and the simple sentence, "This is the pot that the farm maiden stirred." So begins this new cumulative tale. As each additional step in a recipe for arroz con leche, or rice pudding, is introduced, additional layers are added via pictures and words. The illustrations move from simple to vivid warm colors and detailed scenes. Readers are first introduced to important ingredients and equipment in English, accompanied by a concrete image. On the next page, they meet that concept again in Spanish. And thus the presence of the Spanish alongside English builds within the story, accompanied by rising action and visual momentum, and culminating in a celebratory feast. Fans of "The House That Jack Built" will want to hear this read-aloud again and again, to chant along in both English and Spanish, and to enjoy the satisfying certainty of the cumulative tale. For young chefs, a recipe is included.

    Publishers Weekly

    Farm animals collaborate to make a pot of rice pudding in this energetic riff on "This Is the House That Jack Built." Animals and their contributions are first introduced in English ("This is the donkey/ that plucked the lime"), but ensuing verses feature Spanish translations in bold (a multitasking hen lays eggs "while grating the limón/ plucked by the burro"). López's acrylics-on-wood paintings have a burnished copper glow, while the menagerie exudes cartoonish joie de vivre. The seamless integration of Spanish vocabulary makes this a rousing primer.

    School Library Journal, starred review

    In a colorful nod to "The House That Jack Built," a young farm girl stirs her pot (cazuela) with the help of all the animals, and the resulting accumulation of ingredients and helpers produces a celebratory explosion of music and festivity. Past the first simple sentences, increased text and single images suddenly blossom into paintings of vibrantly warm and detailed graphics that quickly pull readers into the rhythmic repetition of the tale; animals (and foods) are given their Spanish names and a riot of jewel-toned colors emerge in full-page illustrations. "This is the duck/that went to the market/to buy the sugar/to flavor the leche/made fresh by the vaca/while teaching the cabra/that churned the crema/to make the mantequilla/that went into the cazuela that the farm maiden stirred." Spoons, banjo, maraca, and drum sound to tapping feet while voices sing-all as the cazuela bubbles-in anticipation of the final stir of arroz con leche (rice pudding). A recipe is appended to this delicious cumulative tale. Its images are spiced with a feast of richly colorful characters, the warmth of a Southwestern palette, and lush, swirling colors. The artistry of this book makes it a must buy for all libraries.


    In the cumulative style of the traditional children's chant "This is the House That Jack Built," this joyful, bilingual picture book, set on a vibrantly colored farm, describes each step in making arroz con leche, or rice pudding. An appended glossary defines each Spanish word used in the text, but within the context of the rhythmic lines, Vamos cleverly makes the meaning of each word clear by starting with the English term: "This is the pot that the farm maiden stirred. This is the butter that went into the cazuela that the farm maiden stirred." The barnyard's smiling animals help to gather the ingredients until the pudding comes together, creating a moment of suspense: will the pot bubble over? The perfectly paced words are well matched with the richly shaded, acrylic-on-board illustrations, which extend the sense of cooperation and fun as everyone works together and are reminiscent of Eric Carle's art in their patchwork-collage texture, clearly defined shapes, and joyful energy. An excellent choice for interactive, multilingual read-alouds.


    A traditional Mexican dish and a traditional nursery rhyme melt into a bubbly, delicious read-aloud. In the style of “This Is the House That Jack Built,” author Samantha Vamos (Before You Were Here, Mi Amor, Viking, 2009) tells the story of a farm maiden who makes a pot of arroz con leche. One by one, animals join in the action—a goat churns butter, a hen grates lime, a duck buys sugar—and in all the excitement, they almost let the pot boil over. Illustrator Rafael López (Book Fiesta, Rayo, 2009) creates a warm tableau with his rich acrylic-on-grained wood style; the characters appear vivacious, happy, and energetic. Spanish words for each of the ingredients are introduced seamlessly; each item is named once in English and every time thereafter in Spanish. A recipe is included at the end. An expert collaboration.


    ISBN: 978-1-58089-242-1

    ISBN: 978-1-58089-243-8

    E-book PDF
    ISBN: 978-1-60734-269-4
    For information about purchasing E-books, click here.

    Ages: 5-8
    Page count: 32
    10 x 10

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