The Gingerbread Tortilla
Since the mid 1900’s, readers have enjoyed the story of The Gingerbread Man in the original as well as its modified forms. The story has been modified to newer versions, and told from perspectives of different cultures. In the original versions, gingerbread was used as the main character with the story beginning with an old European/American lady baking gingerbread. Now, in the 21st century, children have less and less experience with making gingerbread in their homes and we are receiving an influx of children from other cultures. Therefore children are not familiar with what gingerbread taste like or why the farmer and the animals in the original versions would want to chase the gingerbread man. This calls for a modified version of a classic folktale, which is what the Rollaway Tortilla is all about.
Most children living in the United States have at least been to Taco Bell, or because of the influence of Mexican Americans have tasted a tortilla and so can relate to Kimmel's new version of the gingerbread man. In his new book, Kimmel restores the old folktale into a Southwestern Texas tale The Rollaway Tortilla. Kimmel, and his illustrator, Cecil make the tale come alive with its vitalizing language, authentic Texan illustrations, and design of the book. Eric A. Kimmel wrote a southwestern Texas version that will not only draw an interest of Mexican American, and Texan children, but all children living in the United States.
The Rollaway Tortilla begins in the desert of Texas at a Taquerìa near the Rio Grande. Instead of making gingerbread, Tìa (Aunt) Lupe makes the best light and soft tortillas in town. The tortilla, just like the gingerbread, does not want to be eaten and therefore decides to roll away. In this version, the characters are accumulative: one couple, two toads, three donkeys, four rabbits, five snakes, and six cowboys. They all join in on the chase in pursuit after the light and soft tortilla, Señorita Tortilla. Her chasers eventually tire out, give up and go home. Tìa Lupe decides that she’ll make another one, and this time she will cover up the griddle so the tortilla doesn’t roll away. The ending is different than the previous versions of “The Gingerbread Man.” Instead of the deceitful fox, “The Rolling Tortilla” uses the Mexican folklore character, the conniving coyote, as the trickster who defeats the tortilla.
Kimmel uses vivid language to make the story come alive. The action words he uses such as: “leaped from the griddle, rolled out the door” and “galloping, slithering, leaping, trotting, and scampering” add to the chase in the story. Children's vocabulary is challenged and enhanced by the descriptive action words. Kimmel uses the sentence “They were as light as a cloud and as soft as the fuzz on a baby’s cheek,” depicts how good the tortillas were by comparing them with familiar things: clouds, soft skin of a baby. These are things which are...