Dance of the Eggshells
Region: North America, U.S., New Mexico
Author: Carla Aragón
Original Language: Bilingual: Spanish-English
Translators: Socorro Aragón and George Gonzales
Illustrator: Kathy Dee Saville
Genre: Contemporary fiction
Descriptors: dancing; celebrations; eggs; family; lent
Age: 9-12 years old
Carla Aragon’s story Dance of the Eggshells is infused with beautiful representations of New Mexican culture. Libby and J.D. are spending time with their Grandmother Socorro in Santa, Fe New Mexico. Grandma lives in an adobe (mud) home decorated with bright red chile ristras. Both Libby and J.D. are marveled by the home and landscape. However, like brothers and sisters do, the two bicker back and forth. This is when grandma decides to teach them about the Baile de los Cascarones, the Dance of the Eggshells. She walks them through working together to remove the egg from the eggshell, soak them in cold water, filling the eggs with confetti, and decorating the shell. Grandma shares that many families in Northern New Mexico participate in Lent, a religious practice where participants do not eat meat for forty days. In that time, grandma told Libby that they ate many foods with eggs. That is how they created the cascarones. After Lent, people dressed in their fiesta outfits and danced to celebrate! If you wanted to dance with someone, you broke a cascarone over their head and colorful confetti would spill out. With confetti in their hair, they danced the night away! The illustrations in this book are colorful and almost have a pencil-like feel to them. The story is filled with details, and might be enjoyed by ages 9 to 12. The Spanish and English translation are side-by-side, which works well for children or people trying to learn a new language. Overall, the story would make a great read-aloud and perhaps be a new experience for many children who have never participated in the Baile de los Cascarones. The book is available in print and as an eBook.
More About This Book
Reviewed: print book by University of New Mexico Press (2010). ISBN 9780826348623. 30 p.
Reviewed by: Raquel Martinez