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donnaodonnellfigurski.com - CINCO DE MAYO
Cinco de Mayo
Cinco de Mayo
written by Marc Tyler Nobleman
pictures by a variety of contributors
Compass Point Books: Let’s See Series
ISBN: 0-7565-0768-5
Ages 6-9

The whole world has one – each year it comes around again and again and again. In Poland they call it Piàtego Maja. In Germany it is known as Fünfter Mai. The French say Cinquième de Mai and the Italians say Cinque di Maggio. Here in the United States, we call it the Fifth of May. For many countries it is just another day, but in Mexico, it’s called Cinco de Mayo and it’s a very important day in their history books. Marc Tyler Nobleman provides us with a glimpse into this festive holiday in his book entitled, none other than, CINCO de MAYO.

Cinco de Mayo commemorates the battle of Puebla in 1862. The Mexican Army was small with little experience and few weapons, but they showed their true colors, green, white, and red, and their bravery when they defeated the French in an attempt to save their country from invasion.

Now Mexicans all over Mexico, and even those living in the United States, join in the festivities of Cinco de Mayo. Dancers twirl in vibrant native costumes. Mariachi bands stroll the Zócalos, (the town squares), playing their guitars, violins, and trumpets with sounds of mambo, cha-cha, and salsa. They croon love ballads and folk ballads. Children delight in watching or marching in parades. It’s a time for all to enjoy the festivities and foods such as tacos, burritos, and enchiladas. It’s a time for all Mexicans to remember what it means to be Mexican. It’s a time for people to shout, “VIVA MEXICO!”

Reviewer’s Note:
Puebla holds a very special place in my heart, so it was really fun to review this book. In the summer of 2004, I was awarded a National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Grant to study in Puebla, Mexico. For five weeks I was immersed in Mexican culture and language. I visited pyramids and historical archaeological ruins and I lived among the Mexican people and loved every minute of it. Before I learned of the grant, I had never heard of Puebla, but now, I can’t wait to go back. “VIVA MEXICO!”

This review can also be seen on: SmartWriters
FROM the MOUTHS of KIDDLE CRITers: a critique group

“Cinco de Mayo means the Fifth of May,” said Kaya.

“Mexicans celebrate Cinco de Mayo because it represents their victory in Mexico,” said Pritka.

“It’s a holiday,” said Treska, “to remember the war in Puebla between the French and the Mexicans.”

“It happened in 1862,” said Pritka.

"It was a great battle and victory for Mexico,” said Juan. “It’s a very important day for the Mexicans because they celebrate being Mexican.”

“It’s probably like a birthday,” said Anya.

“I think it is a miracle though that the Mexican Army beat the French Army,” said Sarit shaking her head.

“I know!” said Philippe. “The Mexican Army had less soldiers than the French Army.”

“The Mexican Army was so brave at the battle of Puebla,” said Juan. “They believed they could win the battle. Just because the French had more men and more weapons didn’t mean that they were braver than the Mexicans,” he added.

“The Cinco de Mayo story is sort of like a Hanukah story,” said Anya. “The Maccabees had a small army, too . . . and less weapons. And the Syrians had a big army, but the Maccabees still defeated them.”

“It’s the same basic story of the Indian and the British battle, too,” said Pritka. “We were fighting for independence and we had less weapons and less army men, too, but we still won because we were brave enough to survive the battle.”

“Yeah, but the bad thing about that is that we lost our good culture of India,” said Sarit.

“The thing I like most about Cinco de Mayo is the display of Mexican culture,” said Anya.

“In Mexico they got to keep their nice culture and all their beautiful dresses,” said Sarit.

“The dresses that the people wear are really pretty,” said Becky.

“I like how they represent and prize their culture and how they show that different parts of Mexico come together on one day,” said Pritka.

“And they have parades and festivities,” said Juan.

“For Mexico, the Fifth of May is a big event,” said Kaya. “I think it’s a holiday that anyone can enjoy.”

Becky giggled. “GO MEXICO!” she said.


WORD SEARCH - WHERE IN THE PUZZLE IS??? Language Arts/Social Studies

Piñata, burrito, fiesta and mariachi will be words rolling off the tongues of your Kiddles after they read Cinco de Mayo. So throw in Puebla, maraca, and tacos for added fun and you’ve got a great introduction to the words of another land! MEXICO! Your Kiddles can test their skills as they search for these words in a Word Search Puzzle.

Choose about 5 to 10 words from the Cinco de Mayo book depending on how difficult you wish the puzzle to be.

I chose the following list.
Puebla, pinata, maraca, burrito, cinco , mayo, Mexico, holiday, festival, parade, tacos, mariachi, fiesta

Use a 1’’ square graph-grid. I used 7 squares across and 10 down.

Then choose about ten words and fill in the grid. Place one letter in each square.

For younger Kiddles only use horizontal and vertical grids.
(For more of a challenge you can add diagonal squares.)

Here is a sample.

These words are used in the horizontal position. (Cinco, piñata, Mexico, maraca, fiesta)

These words are used in the vertical position. (Puebla, parade, tacos, Mayo, mariachi)


Site to download graph paper grids.

CONCENTRATE! CONCENTRACIÓN! Number/Numeral; Month/Mes; Numeral/Mes
Language Arts/Spanish

Your Kiddles can expand their minds and learn a little Spanish, too.
All they have to do is C-O-N-C-E-N-T-R-A-T-E!

1. Make a set of twenty-four 2” x 4” cards.

2. On each card write a number name in English and write a
number name in Spanish. Ex.: five -- cinco; two -- dos
(See word lists below.)

3. Mix cards up and place them in four rows of six cards.

4. Each player takes a turn turning over two cards trying to
find a match. Ex.: six + seis; twelve + doce

5. If a match is made then the player takes the cards and
plays again. If a match is not made the cards are turned
over and the next player takes a turn.

6. The player with the most cards at the end of the game is
the winner.


English number list:
one, two, three, four, five, six, seven,
eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve.

Spanish number list:
uno, dos, tres, quatro, cinco, seis, siete,
ocho, nueve, diez, once, doce.

Now expand some more. Use the word lists below to learn more new words.


English month list:
January, February, March, April, May, June, July,
August, September, October, November, December

Spanish month list:
enero, febrero, marzo, abril, mayo, junio, julio,
agosto, septiembre, octubre, noviembre, diciembre

Come on . . . stretch a little farther:

Mix the English month cards with the Spanish numeral cards to order the months.
May + Cinco

Mix the English numeral cards with the Spanish month cards to order the months.
Five + mayo

(Although I examined these websites and found them to be very helpful, please use them at your own discretion.)

How To Say Mexican Words: http://www.apples4theteacher.com/elibrary/mexico-the-country.html
Kids Culture Center– Mexico–Culture: http://www.kidsculturecenter.com/mexico/mex_holiday.htm
About Cinco de Mayo


Saturday Market by Patricia Grossman, illustrated by Enrique O. Sánchez
Cinco de Mayo by Janet Riehecky, illustrated by Krystyna Stasiak
Cinco de Mayo Celebrating Hispanic Pride by Carol Gnojewski,
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