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The Colorful World of Latino Folktales

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The Runaway Tortilla

Kimmel, Eric A.  2000.  The runaway tortilla.  New York: Winslow Press.

Summary:  In this Southwestern version of the Gingerbread Man, a tortilla runs away from the woman who is about to cook him (Verso 2000).
Type:  Beast - because the animals talk and act like humans and someone outwits someone. 
Characters: the main characters are the tortilla, Tia Lupe and Tio Jose, and the coyote.  All of the characters are determined in one way or another to get what they want. 
Setting:  At the very beginning of the story the setting is made apparent by these words, "Once upon a time in Texas, down by the Rio Grande..." (Kimmel, p.1).  The entire story takes place in a desert as the tortilla makes it way.  The mountains and cactus in the background gives away the area.
Plot:  The tortilla is so light and fluffy it jumps up and rolls away.  The owner Tia Lupe and her husband try to stop it, but it keeps rolling through the desert, passing by buckaroos, rattlesnakes, jackrabbits, donkeys, and toads.  In the end, the tortilla has outwitted all of these creatures, but gets outwitted by the coyote and he gets eaten.
Theme: Right when you think you have outsmarted everyone else, there is always someone smarter.

Rating: 4 out of 5
This is a silly story and totally unbelievable, but funny.  It has repetitive text that would be fun to read to younger children.

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Here are some quotes my students said:
"I liked it because it was like the gingerbread man."
"I like how the coyote outsmarted the tortilla."
"The pictures are great."
"It was a good story with bright and interesting pictures."
"I did not like it because it was dumb."
"It was funny and stupid."
"It was like the gingerbread man but a Mexican type."

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