F is for Fiesta Fiasco

F is for Fiesta Fiasco

Fiesta – a celebration

Fiasco – a humiliating failure

A party that turns into a fiasco can’t be good, can it?

Fiesta Fiasco

Title: Fiesta Fiasco

Author: Ann Whitford Paul

Illustrator: Ethan Long

Category: Picture Book

Published: March 1, 2007

Rating: 3½ out of 5 stars

Add: Goodreads

Purchase: Amazon | IndieBound | Book Depository

There is a desert party in the works in this spicy book. It is Snake’s birthday, and Iguana, Tortoise, and Rabbit are shopping for birthday gifts to bring to his fiesta. But what presents should they buy for Snake? In a sneaky twist, Rabbit convinces them to buy gifts that aren’t for Snake at all–but for him!

This is a cute little story. It’s funny and teaches a lesson that can be hard for kids. When you’re picking out gifts, think about what your friend/brother/sister would actually want, not what you want. (Hmm, maybe I should rethink what I ordered for my husband’s birthday.)

I like the desert animals and how whimsically they’re drawn. The warm colors and cartoonish animals are perfect. The author also incorporated several spanish words in the text. A glossary is included in the beginning, so when you’re reading it aloud to your kids you can at least get the pronunciations close, and in the story itself, whenever a Spanish word is included, the following piece of dialogue make it clear what the word means. For example: “‘What about a libro?’ asked Iguana. ‘Culebra loves a good book,’ added Tortuga.”

It also shows that actions have consequence. The other three are angry at Rabbit and make him leave the party. He realizes his mistake, and when he comes back with more appropriate presents, he is happily forgiven.

It’s a fun book and there are others with the same characters that look enjoyable too.

  • Mañana, Iguana
  • Fiesta Fiasco
  • Count on Culebra
  • Tortuga in Trouble


  1. What a great idea–review of kids books on the A-Z challenge. I adore children’s books with a gentle ‘moral’. This sounds like a great one.


    Christine London

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  2. Oh dear I’m awful at buying things for others that I would want – maybe I need to read this book. Usually it works out OK I think because of similarities with the people I’m buying for. Once my sister and I bought my parents a computer printer which we had to take back because they had just bought one for themselves!!
    Of course sometimes I end up buying two of the same thing because I really want it as well – self-gifting is so much easier.
    So what type of presents do you like best?

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