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My land sings : songs from the Rio Grande

by Rudolfo Anaya


Publishers Weekly :

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Haunting characters people Anaya's (The Farolitos of Christmas) collection of 10 tales in the R o Grande valley of New Mexico. He combines five cuentos from Spanish and Native American folklore (previously published in a bilingual volume for adults) with original stories that incorporate inherited themes such as a respect for elders, the dangers of going against traditional mores and traces from an old world Roman Catholicism. In "Dulcinea," for instance, a beautiful, isolated 15-year-old from Llano Estacado sees a handsome stranger on a visit to the village and determines to meet him at a dance. Her father forbids it, saying, "Dark wind follows the stranger who has come to our village.... The devil rides the whirlwind," but she attends anyway, with life-altering results. And in "The Three Brothers," a youngest son is rewarded for his faith, while his two older brothers' selfishness is punished with eternal damnation. Anaya's preface describes sources and variations on his material, as well as the process in which he has used cuentos in his novels. While readers may be familiar with the outlines of "Lupe and la Llorona" (the crying woman), "The Shepherd Who Knew the Language of Animals" and "Coyote and Raven," a creation tale, these reworkings contain compelling twists that will keep the pages turning. Ages 10-up. (Sept.)

Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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School Library Journal :

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Gr 5-9-This collection of stories has elements of both Mexican and Native American folklore. Anaya has included five of his own stories and retold and enhanced five traditional tales. Filled with ghosts, devils, and tricksters, these cuentos are suffused with the beliefs of the peoples in the Rio Grande region. Because of the predominating Roman Catholicism of those who settled the area, the pieces have strong elements of that religion in them as well. The tales are divided into categories such as rogues and rascals, enchantment, animals, and riddles; some are humorous, while others teach a lesson. The latter is represented by the author's story "Sipa's Choice," in which a young leader and his people are metamorphosed into golden carp because the young man failed to respect the traditional ways of his father. Anaya champions the reading of a good book or listening to a folktale as an opportunity to insert one's own experiences into the story and, hence, to nurture the imagination. This appealing volume will add diversity to folklore collections.-Sylvia V. Meisner, Allen Middle School, Greensboro, NC

Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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