The Pot That Juan Built

by Nancy Andrews-Goebel and David Diaz

Nancy Andrews-Goebel’s dynamic first book for children offers multiple points... read more

Nancy Andrews-Goebel’s dynamic first book for children offers multiple points of entry into her subject. Mexican potter Juan Quezada was fascinated with pottery-making from childhood. His interest and passion led to his restoration of the centuries-old tradition of pot-making of the Casas Grandes people in Mexico. At the same time it helped revive his economically struggling community as Quezada trained family members and friends to become artisans, and Mata Ortiz became the bustling artistic enclave it is today. Andrews-Goebels uses three narrative forms to relate these events: a lyrical, language-rich cumulative tale in which she describes his steps in making a pot using the structure of “The House That Jack Built;” brief informational text on each two-page spread that informs and extends the latest piece of the cumulative story; and an afterword that provides more extensive information about Quezada, Mata Ortiz, and pot-making, along with photographs of Juan Quezada at work. The author’s lively writing style enriches all three narrative formats. Extensive repetition required by the structure makes the cumulative narrative a bit lengthy for reading aloud in its entirety. But it’s dazzling language begs for sharing out loud in the completed cumulative form. The shorter informational narrative can be easily shared as a read-aloud. David Diaz has created stunning, sun-drenched, graphic illustrations as a backdrop on each two-page spread of this striking volume. Highly Commended, 2003 Charlotte Zolotow Award (Ages 6-10)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2003

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