Carlos is working in the kitchen of the Mexican monastery when the cook enters the room in a panic. The Spanish Viceroy is on his way for a surprise visit and will arrive by on, expecting dinner. What will the brothers feed this important ambassador to the king? Carlos tries to stay out of the way as lunch is hastily prepared, but his curiosity gets the best of him. His eagerness results in a moment of crisis, followed by what the brothers can only assume is a miracle. This story, inspired by the Mexican folk tradition, explains the origins of mole, the popular national dish that combines chocolate with turkey, spices, and nuts. Stefan Czernecki's amusing, angular illustrations capture the chaos in the kitchen as well as the folk tradition behind the tale.
Caroline McAlister Bio: Caroline McAlister was born in New Orleans, Louisiana. When she was 12 (sixth grade), her father had a sabbatical and took the family to Europe for a year where she became interested in foreign languages and cultures. These interests have helped her in her writing and research. The summer before she left home for college, she travelled to Guadalajara, Mexico with a tennis team from Sacramento. She worked some of the smells, sounds and sights from that trip into her first book, Holy Mole! She has not taken a straight path to becoming a children s writer, but when she looks back she realizes that s what she always wanted to be. Her childhood notebooks prove that she intended to write legends and fairy tales from the very beginning. In graduate school, McAlister wrote a dissertation and several articles on 17th century poet, John Milton. Later, she worked as an English Professor. Then, she fell in love again with books by reading to her two children, Abby and Allie. She began to write children s books in her head, then moved to the computer, and then started sending them out to publishers. It took several years to get her first book published, but playing junior tennis and writing a dissertation taught her tenacity. McAlister now lives in Greensboro, North Carolina where she teaches writing part time at Guilford College. She tries to write something every day and send out a manuscript every week. Stefan Czernecki Bio: Stefan Czernecki was born in a refugee camp in Germany and now lives in a small glass apartment one hundred and fifty feet above the ground. For inspiration, he travels to faraway places like Tokyo, Mexico City, New York and Marrakesh. Sometimes he just takes a walk around the block. A number of his books are inspired by folk art from other countries. His creative work has been awarded the prestigious Aesop Accolade given by the American Folklore Society.