Sure to incite curiosity, further research, and lots of giggles


Patricia Vermillion; illustrated by Kuleigh Smith

Texas Chili? Oh My!

TCU Press

Hardcover (Lithocase), 978-0-87565-568-0, 40 pgs., 10 x 7.5, $21.95

(also available in Spanish)

October 10, 2013


Author Patricia Vermillion has taken the story of The Three Little Pigs and given it a delightful Texas twist in Texas Chili? Oh My! In Vermillion’s reimagining, we have three little armadillos whose mother, Mamadillo, decides that they are living “tighter than bark on a tree,” and decides it is time for the youngsters to dig dens of their own. But danger is afoot as Trickster Coyote is on the prowl to make himself some Texas chili, with the main ingredient needed: armadillo!


Readers will follow along with the three armadillos as they encounter a wide assortment of critters, plants, places—and building materials—all symbolic and emblematic of the state of Texas.  Whether it’s the “howdy” issued in greeting, the “supper” that’s on the coyote’s mind, or the “Ye doggies! Giddy-up” he howls, Vermillion gets the vernacular exactly right. Vermillion’s prose lends itself to an enthusiastic read-aloud, ideally voiced by someone with a Texas twang to add emphasis and hilarity to the story.


The story is perfectly complemented by artist Kuleigh Smith’s colorful illustrations, reminiscent of those tints that brighten any mercado.  Readers young and old will be captivated by the expressive faces of characters and the often-full-page splashes of color. Additionally, the initial and final interior pages are textured to reflect the shell of an armadillo.  Texas Chili? Oh My! is truly a multi-sensory treat.


Texas Chili? Oh My! entertains, but with a handy glossary of Texas terms, a list of learning objectives, a bibliography, and even a chili recipe (sans armadillo meat or beans, of course), the book has plenty of potential applications in the classroom or library.  Texas Chili, Oh My! is sure to incite curiosity, further research, and lots of giggles and will make a great addition to any home, classroom, or school library.

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