A Pinata in a Pine Tree
2010 Américas Commended List

Teachers & Librarians
Find curriculum activities for
A Piñata in a Pine Tree.
If you have an activity or activities to share, please email these along with your name and school or library name.

Pat describes the way she blends different cultures in this holiday adaptation. Video provided by WETV's ¡Colorín Colorado!.

Page from A Pinata in a Pine Tree
10th anniversary 2019

A Piñata in a Pine Tree: A Latino Twelve Days of Christmas
Clarion Books, illustrated by Magaly Morales
Download a hi-res jpeg of the book jacket.

A festive Latino twist on "The Twelve Days of Christmas," populated with piñatas in place of partridges, as well as burritos bailando (dancing donkeys), lunitas cantando (singing moons) and much more, all displayed in the most vivid colors imaginable. Every page includes treats for children to find and count in Spanish, with pronunciations incorporated into the lavish illustrations. A glossary and music follow the story.

Highlighted Reviews
"In this zippy spin on "The Twelve Days of Christmas," a cherub-like little girl dances across the pages as she accumulates gifts from her amiga. Beginning with "a piñata in a pine tree" and culminating in "doce angelitos celebrando" (twelve angels rejoicing), the double-page spreads each contain a pronunciation guide for both gifts and numbers … End matter includes informative author's and illustrator's notes, a glossary and pronunciation guide, and music."—Horn Book

"On the first day of Christmas my amiga gave to me," sings a little girl … Mora blends Latino holiday traditions of her native Southwest with some from Mexico. The inclusion of numerals and the pronunciation of the Spanish words, along with a concluding glossary and pronunciation guide, facilitates reading and makes it absolutely entertaining."—Kirkus Reviews

"In this Latino twist on the traditional folk song, the narrator's secret amiga's gifts include 'a piñata in a pine tree' and 'cuatro luminarias.' The identity of the girl's amiga is a sweet surprise and is sure to bring a smile to readers. The spreads are pleasing to the eye, with acrylic paintings rendered in vivid oranges, pinks, greens, and sky blue."—School Library Journal

"Spanish phrases pepper the traditional carol as a joyful child experiences the holiday. On the third day of Christmas, the girl's “amiga” gives her “tres tamalitos,” which sit steaming in an earthen pot, and on the sixth day, she receives “seis trompos girando” (spinning tops). Morales's acrylic illustrations glow with warm, festive colors, evoking lantern light. … A luminous holiday pick, especially for new big brothers and sisters."—Publishers Weekly

"In trading a partridge for a piñata and intertwining English and Spanish, Mora has created not only a fun adaptation of a classic Christmas carol but also an introduction to many elements of holiday celebrations for families across the U.S. and Latin America … The illustrator is the sister of Belpré Award-winning illustrator Yuyi Morales, and these acrylic paintings share a similar colorful and vibrant style as they integrate words, numbers, Spanish pronunciations, joy, and excitement throughout each full page spread."—Booklist

"Whether they are exploring the luminescent illustrations or singing along with the re-imagined Christmas carol, children of all ages will delight in this lyrical and visual celebracíon. Librarians will particularly appreciate the in-text pronunciations for the various Spanish words and phrases. Highly recommended."—Imagínense Libros