Parents' Guide to

Doña Esmeralda, Who Ate Everything!

By Stephanie Snyder, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 5+

Quirky tale pays homage to Filipino food and folktale.

Dona Esmeralda, Who Ate Everything Book Cover

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Author Melissa de la Cruz stays true to the storytelling of oral tradition in this unique story. Doña Esmeralda, Who Ate Everything! is a retelling of an old folktale, and it's told in a way similar to the way people passed down stories for years. It's conversational, often interrupting the storytelling with questions or defining words for those receiving the story. For example, "She was about the size of a toddler, but she was very, very old. Do you know the word 'ancient'? It means older than old, and that's how old Doña Esmeralda was." This helps readers young and old keep up with the story.

While this is a retelling of an old folktale, de la Cruz could have taken a bit more liberty to craft a tale more fitting for today's young readers. Simply constructing a clearer resolution or perhaps giving Doña Esmeralda some character strengths or a lesson learned could have easily done the trick, as it's unclear if Doña Esmeralda is a protagonist or antagonist for much of the story. Kids won't mind -- they'll be busy giggling at the outlandish tale, brought to life by Primo Gallanosa's hilarious illustrations.

Book Details

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