Flat Stanley’s Worldwide Adventures #5: The Amazing Mexican Secret Teaching Guide

Make geography fun for students by cooking up some creative lessons! For example, incorporate culinary traditions into a unit on Mexico sprinkling in some Spanish words. See below for more amazing teaching strategies.

About the Book

Ever since Stanley was flattened by a bulletin board, he has been able to do things that no one else can. In Flat Stanley’s fifth worldwide adventure, he sets off for Mexico on a quest to discover a cooking spice, a family secret his friend Carlos’s 103-year-old grandmother, La Abuela, is ready to share. But Flat Stanley isn’t the only one curious about the delectable secret: spying chefs are seeking La Abuela, too. With the help of a daring bullfighter, Flat Stanley races to find La Abuela and to protect her astonishing, mysterious, and delicious secret.

Comprehension and Discussion Questions

  • In what dish does Flat Stanley first taste La Abuela’s secret ingredient? Why do the Lambchops think the tradition of La Abeula’s secret ingredient should be carried on? Would you be willing to travel a long distance and brave many dangers to protect such a tradition? Why or why not?
  • What is Plaza de Toros, Mexico, and who does Flat Stanley meet there? Why is Flat Stanley surprised when he finds out what this person’s job is? Describe a time when you’ve been similarly surprised. How did the surprise change the way you think about people and their jobs?
  • When Flat Stanley tells stories about his past adventures on pages 29–30, why doesn’t he tell the whole truth? What results from his inaccurate storytelling? What not-quite-true stories have you told about your life, and why did you tell them? What happened as a result?
  • What does the Mayan temple look like? How is it different from an Egyptian pyramid? Who were the Mayans, and what were at least three of their accomplishments? What more might you like to learn about the Mayans?
  • On page 76, La Abuela says to Flat Stanley: “The secret is not the ingredient. It is what you do with it.” What does she mean? Do you agree? Why or why not?

Extension Activities

  • The Inside Scoop: Mexican Multimedia Almanac. Discuss the kinds of information found in almanacs, then guide your class to create a multimedia almanac of Mexico. Help students collect information they’d like to include in their almanac and gather or generate appropriate images—like maps and visuals of geographic or cultural features.
  • Dishing Up Traditions. With your class, brainstorm special foods their families make for favorite family traditions. Ask students to write brief descriptions of their traditions and their foods. Have them illustrate their final drafts and help them include recipes—if these aren’t family secrets! Display these and invite families to bring their special foods for all to taste at a Dishing Up Traditions party.
  • Marvelous Mexico Tour. Research and select several intriguing Mexican geographic features. Divide your class into small groups of “tour guides.” Help your tour guides choose Mexican geographic features about which they’ll become specialists. With information you provide, guide the groups to create presentations on their geographic features. Invite other classes to become “tourists” and take your class’s Marvelous Mexico Tour.
  • For Students Unfamiliar with Spanish—Spectacular Spanish Silver. Collect all the Spanish words in The Amazing Mexican Secret. Construct silver medallions and, on each, write a word with its translation. (You might choose to increase the number of medallions by selecting additional Spanish words from a dictionary.) Hide these medallions around the classroom. Then list the medallion words on the board. Instruct your class to work collaboratively or competitively as they hunt for all the Spectacular Spanish Silver.

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Teaching guide prepared by Laura Williams McCaffrey, a library consultant and children’s book author, East Montpelier, Vermont.






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    Art by Macky Pamintuan. Based on the character, stories, and adventures of Flat Stanley created by the late Jeff Brown.
    FLAT STANLEY® is a registered trademark of the Trust u/w/o Richard C. Brown f/b/o Duncan Brown.