The Piñata Maker / El Piñatero

Arts, Arts & Culture, Book, Hispanic & Latino, Multicultural, Work

The Piñata Maker / El Piñatero 

By: George Ancona
Publisher: Harcourt Brace & Company, 1994
Age Level: 9-12
Language: English and Spanish
ISBN: 0-15-261875-9, 0-15-200060-7 (paperback)


Don Ricardo, or Tío Rico as the children call him, is the piñata maker of a village in southern Mexico. Now seventy-seven years old, Tío Rico has been making elaborate and beautiful piñatas for fifteen years. He brings great joy to children with his magical puppets, masks and piñatas–and of course, he gets invited to nearly all the parties.

Told in English and Spanish, The Piñata Maker documents this Latin American art, and offers readers a fascinating glimpse of life in a Mexican village.





  • Parent’s Choice, 1994
  • Nominated for Texas Library Association Blue Bonnet Award
  • Sequoyah Children’s Book Award, 1996-1997
  • ARTS 5


“Writer-photographer Ancona takes children to a Mexican village to meet Tío Rico, an old man who makes beautiful piñatas, puppets, and masks for parties and festivals. Exceptionally clear and well composed, the full-color photographs bring the village, the people, and the craft of piñata-making sharply into focus. On each page, the text appears in English, then in Spanish. Clearly written in both languages, the English/Spanish dual text provides a good bridge for children neither learning a second language, as well as making the book accessible to those who know one or the other. Not just a how-to manual, the book has a narrative strand, following Tío Rico as he buys the materials for his crafts, makes them, sells them, and finally attends a party where the children break open a piñata. A delightful introduction to the subject and a memorable glimpse of one Mexican village and its people.”