Ode to an Onion: Pablo Neruda and His Muse


A gorgeous ode to the humble onion—and to darkness and light, grief and joy, and much more—through the story of poet Pablo Neruda and his muse, Matilde.


ODE TO AN ONION is a poetic, beautifully illustrated picture book inspired by Ode to the Onion by Chilean poet Pablo Neruda (1904–1973). Pablo has a lunch date with his friend Matilde, who shows the moody poet her garden. Where Pablo sees conflict and sadness, Matilde sees love and hope. The story is less a biography of Neruda and his muse, Matilde Urrutia (1912–1985), and more a simple ode to a vegetable that is humble and luminous, dark and light, gloomy and glad, full of grief and full of joy—just like life.

A Junior Library Guild Selection

Shortlisted for the Communication Arts Design Competition, 2019

SKU: 978-1-944903-34-3 Category:

Author's Bio

Alexandria Giardino is a writer and translator. Her work includes translating My Life with Pablo Neruda by Matilde Urrutia and her essays have appeared in the Village Voice Literary Supplement, Marie Claire, Discover, American Poetry Review, and on air at KQED. Giardino lives with her family in Northern California. Ode to an Onion is her first children’s book.

Felicita Sala is the illustrator of several picture books, including Mr. Crum’s Potato Predicament, Big Foot and Little Foot, and My Father Is a Polar Bear. Sala lives in Rome with her family.



“This one is a treat for the eyes and ears.”—Maria Russo, New York Times children’s book editor

“Sala’s exuberant illustrations are playful and colorful . . . a sweet story about the creative process.”—Kirkus Reviews

“Onionskin endpapers are a nice touch to an introduction to the Chilean poet who paid tribute to familiar objects.” —Booklist

“An ode to the layered and varied complexities of life, rendered in mesmeric illustrations. A perennial favorite from last year.”—Book Bloom

Additional information

Dimensions 11.5 × 10 in
Written By

Alexandria Giardino

Illustrations By

Felicita Sala

Number of Pages


Published On

October 9, 2018


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