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Book Review/Giveaway: The Smiling Burro. Ends June 14th

The Smiling Burro

The Smiling Burro by Mary Esparza-Vela art by Mike Motz.

About the Book: A tiny burro shows up at a little boy’s house and becomes a real asset to the family. The day he disappears, they never expect to see him again until he prances in one dark spooky night.

My Review: Raulito lived with his parents in a tiny house on top of a mountain in Mexico. He often helps his parents carry barrels of water from the bottom of the mountain to the house. While emptying his last bucket of water he saw a small burro munching on his mother’s plants in her garden. Raulito fell in love with the burro and his parents allowed him to keep him till someone came to claim him. Raulito was so excited and name the burro Pepito and feed him corn.

Raulito played with Pepito every chance he gets. Pepito was helpful to the family by carrying heavy loads of wood and large barrels of water tied to his back.

One day Raulito went to feed Pepito and found out that he has gone. He called out to his father, who examine the rope and told him that Raulito was stolen, Raulito was so sad. Days passed with no sign of Pepito.  Grandpa came to visit to cheer him up by telling the children a story to take Raulito’s mind off loosing Pepito. Did Raulito ever find Pepito?

This is an easy to read book that gives an educational history about burros. Do you know that burro is a Spanish translation for the English word donkey, and that the first burros lived 5,000 years ago in Egypt? The author went on to give more information about burros in the last page of this book. This book is recommended for children ages 4 – 8 years old.

Disclaimer: As per FTC guidelines, I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest review. I received no monetary compensation. All opinions expressed here are mine and mine alone.


About the Author: Mary Esparza-Vela is an award-winning author who has written articles for religious publications and online non-profit organizations. A total of 15 short stories have appeared on line and seven children’s picture books have been published by Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. Her winning stories include an Honorable Mention from Writers Digest, a 1st Place winning entry, and a picture book that won a 2012 Book of the Year Award. Some of her books are also available in Spanish.

Mary is also the patented inventor of three plush dolls that received “Preferred Choice” and “Seal of Excellence” awards from a panel made up of parents and educators. TDMonthly Toy Magazine also featured them as “winning toys.” The first adventure book involving the doll characters has been published in English and Spanish. You’re welcome to see her books and dolls at

Mymcbooks Interview the Author

I want to thank you for being my guest here on Mymcbooks Blog.

What is the last book you read? My Stroke of Insight by < ll%20Bolte%20Taylor%20Ph.D.&search-alias=books&sort=relevancerank> Jill Bolte Taylor. It is about a young woman’s recovery after brain surgery and a testimony to the mechanics of the human mind.

What was your favorite children’s book? To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee has been my favorite book since I first read it at the age of 12. It has been translated into more than forty languages, sold more than forty million copies, and became a popular movie.

What were your earliest memories of writing? As a child, I spent hours reading short stories and small novels. Later, while in high school, I had an English teacher who continually returned papers until all spelling and syntax errors were in perfect form. I feel grateful that this made me a better writer.

Were you encouraged to write or was it something that came natural? By the time I became a teenager, I had written two short stories about my life in a small Texas town. Family unity was important to us and my maternal grandfather contributed to making our lives more enjoyable. In the evenings, Grandpa related stories about his childhood and followed up with old legends and ghost tales. This was better than watching TV. Grandpa’s large eyes grew in size and the tone of his voice changed when he described the suspenseful moments. I think it was these times that inspired me to pursue a writing career.

Do you generally get a story idea first or does the main character develop first? My story ideas usually come first and then I develop the characters.

What inspired you to write, The Smiling Burro? While living in the country, we had animals grazing in the back field behind our house. The Smiling Burro was written by adding some of Grandfather’s ideas as well as my own personal experience with a tiny burro. We had pet goats, a rooster that attacked us every time we went to collect eggs, a grumpy pig, a talking parrot named Chico, and a dog that ate oranges, pealing and all.

Are you working on a new book? I am currently working on a series of books about three tiny space tots who travel around the universe looking for adventure. In the process, they learn about Earth and teach children about the planets and solar system. The characters have been developed into dolls and are called Luv-Beams®. You’re welcome to see them at  <>

What is the most difficult part of writing? I find that the most difficult part of writing is concentration. I can write quickly but any interruption causes me to lose my focus and then it takes a long time to gather my thoughts again.

Do you write full time or do you still have a day job? I previously worked as an Editorial Assistant and later as a Research Analyst. After retiring three years ago, I began to enter contests and had a total of 12 short stories published online. I now write full time and look for opportunities to enter contests, to meet with critique groups, and attend writers’ conferences.

How do you react to a bad review and have you ever suffered from writer’s block? When I receive a bad review, I try to accept it in a positive manner and immediately set out to either improve the manuscript or rewrite it. I have learned that if one publisher does not like my manuscript, another may love it.  While I have never suffered from writers’ block, I tend to “tell” more than “show” and this always slows me down.

What do you hope that readers will take away from your book? The Smiling Burro is a picture book about a family that lives in poverty. They have no electricity and the only water available has to be carried up the mountain in heavy buckets. The day a tiny burro comes into their lives, he takes over the heavy burden of carrying water, only to be stolen within a short time. The story has happy and sad moments, but in the end, it turns joyful and humorous. I hope it teaches children learn to appreciate the things they have in life.

Who are some of your favorite authors you would love to dine with? Favorite authors who I would like to dine with include Tim Tingle who wrote Crossing Bok Chitto, a Choctaw Indian tale, and Joe Hayes, The Weeping Woman, an old Hispanic legend.

What author inspires you the most and why? I especially like Tim Tingle because he makes his stories come alive. He is an award-winning writer whose grandmother was a Choctaw Indian.

What discipline do you impose on yourself regarding schedules, goals, etc.? I try to write when the house is quiet. The best time for me is the early mornings and late evenings.

What advice would you give parents on selecting the right books for their children to read? Look for books with stories that capture your children’s hearts and imagination — good wholesome stories that are fun to read and provide lessons that will benefit them later in life.

What advice you would give to new writers? If you enjoy writing, never give up. Join critique groups and don’t take rejections personally. This is the only way to learn and  succeed.

Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers? Please check out my other published books on

o  The Odd Chick

o  The Turtle Who Imagined – winner of a 2012 Book of the Year Award

o  Bearly Learning About Water

o  El Burro Sonriente – Spanish

o  You Can’t Take the Dinosaur Home

o  No Puedes Llevarte el Dinosaurio a Casa – Spanish

Coming Soon:

o    There’s a Lion in the House

o    Lucky’s Lick

o  The Fearless Grandfather

o  Truly a Man’s Best Friend

Thank you for this interview.

Giveaway (US ONLY)

There will be ONLY 1 Winner

Comments like these would be deleted – Great contest, Please enter me, Love to win this! This is so cute!

So please leave a helpful comment relating to this book.

PLEASE FOLLOW ALL MANDATORY RULES – Rules not followed will be deleted immediately.


You must leave your comments in the comment field below and blog, twitter, facebook, pinterest or tell a friend about this giveaway.

Please note that in your comments. Thanks

Don’t forget to leave your email address for contact if you win.

Giveaway Ends June 14th

The winner will be selected via


If you have a Blog, twitter, facebook, pinterest etc post and leave a link with your comment

This Giveaway Has Ended

Winner is #1 – Georgia B

May 24, 2013 - Posted by | Book Review, Free Giveaways | , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. This book sounds delightful. I love introducing my grandchildren to different cultures through books. They enjoy seeing what life is like for others. They are also very often surprised at how many children have to “work” to help their families. I have shared this giveaway on Pinterest & FB.

    Georgia Beckman

    Comment by Georgia Beckman | May 24, 2013 | Reply

  2. I haven’t seen this one before. What a great sounding book to use during my multicultural unit. Not to mention learning new words from another language. Thanks for the reviews. I do find them so helpful.
    bournmelissa at hotmail dot com


    Comment by Mel Bourn (@MelCamino5) | May 24, 2013 | Reply

  3. THE SMILING BURRO sounds like a great book for my little guy who is 7 years old and just loves story time…especially when there is an animal involved. I wonder if there are any Spanish words in it besides “burro”. When I read this review I kept thinking about the ICE AGE movie where the wooly mammoth is tell a story about a burro and the kids keep telling him to use the English word for burro. I thought it was funny. Just by the cover I can tell that the illustrations within are colorful and fun for kids too! The story sounds great! I have an idea as to why Pepito always disappears! Maybe because he visits little boys and girls who need him as a friend? Hmmmm, LOL.

    Anyway like I said this sounds like a great read and thanks so much for the review and giveaway and author information. I especially liked that Mary Esparza-Vela puts extra information about burros in the back of the book…so there is learning all around!!

    I have tweeted about the post and included a link to the giveaway within the tweet…Here is the direct link for you! Here is the direct link:

    My email: mrsjtucker2012[at]gmail[dot]com

    Comment by Jovon Tucker | May 25, 2013 | Reply

  4. My daughters would love this book, especially since we have so many friends from Mexico that are now living in California. There is a young man that lives near my mother that has a burro that he rents out for children’s parties and he takes the burro to the local Mexican chain grocery store to promote his business. My daughters kept calling him a pony and this would be a nice way to explain the difference. I would like to have had more information on the 3 plush dolls that Ms. Esparza-Vela invented.

    Comment by Emi | May 25, 2013 | Reply

    • Thank you for your wonderful comments about “The Smiling Burro.” If you would like additional information on the three plush dolls and their recently released book, check out my website: — Mary Esparza-Vela

      Comment by Mary Vela | June 14, 2013 | Reply

  5. My kids would love to read this. They adore animals, and any books about them.

    Comment by domestic diva | May 26, 2013 | Reply

  6. I love that it is easy to read but ripe with educational knowledge about burros as well as a cute story.🙂

    Comment by Lydia Harpe | May 30, 2013 | Reply

  7. This sounds terrific, and I know kids will love it. All best wishes for a successful book!

    Comment by Nancy Stewart | June 7, 2013 | Reply

  8. Pepito sounds like a wonderful companion. I shared this giveaway on Facebook at

    Comment by likwan | June 14, 2013 | Reply

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