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Though previously published (in English only) by a small press as Everyone Knows Gato Pinto (1992) and also available in...

Eight tales of tricksters and magical transformations are given a Southwestern setting by a veteran storyteller and paired to Spanish versions on facing pages.

Despite occasional common folkloric elements, the stories are not just regional variations on “Cinderella” and other well-worn chestnuts. In “If I Were an Eagle / Si Yo Fuera Águila,” for instance, an orphan lad with the ability to turn himself into various animals rescues a kidnapped princess from a giant but marries the shepherd’s daughter who saves him from a bear. A village comedian subsequently answers three supposedly impossible questions to save a beloved priest in “What Am I Thinking? / ¿Qué Estoy Pensando?” and in “Caught on a Nail / Enganchado en un Clavo,” a clever young woman fools three persistent suitors into terrifying one another. Other tales feature a magical ring that sows dismay by doubling and redoubling the wearer’s strength, a spotted cat who leads a young third brother to riches and (in the title story) a coyote and an old dog who put aside their traditional enmity to become allies. Each tale opens with a realistically detailed black-and-white scene to set the comic or dramatic mood.

Though previously published (in English only) by a small press as Everyone Knows Gato Pinto (1992) and also available in audio versions, these wise and witty tales continue to repay fresh encounters. (source notes) (Folktales. 10-12)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-935955-21-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Cinco Puntos Press

Review Posted Online: Nov. 1, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2011

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In a large, handsome format, Tarnowska offers six tales plus an abbreviated version of the frame story, retold in formal but contemporary language and sandwiched between a note on the Nights’ place in her childhood in Lebanon and a page of glossary and source notes. Rather than preserve the traditional embedded structure and cliffhanger cutoffs, she keeps each story discrete and tones down the sex and violence. This structure begs the question of why Shahriyar lets Shahrazade [sic] live if she tells each evening’s tale complete, but it serves to simplify the reading for those who want just one tale at a time. Only the opener, “Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp,” is likely to be familiar to young readers; in others a prince learns to control a flying “Ebony Horse” by “twiddling” its ears, contending djinn argue whether “Prince Kamar el Zaman [or] Princess Boudour” is the more beautiful (the prince wins) and in a Cinderella tale a “Diamond Anklet” subs for the glass slipper. Hénaff’s stylized scenes of domed cityscapes and turbaned figures add properly whimsical visual notes to this short but animated gathering. (Folktales. 10-12)


Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-84686-122-2

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Barefoot Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2010

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A prolific reporter of paranormal phenomena strains to bring that same sense of wonder to 12 “transposed”—that is, paraphrased from interviews but related in first person—accounts of extraordinary experiences. Some feats are more memorable than others; compared to Bethany Hamilton’s return to competitive surfing after having her arm bitten off by a shark and Mark Inglis’ climb to the top of Mount Everest on two prosthetic legs, Joe Hurley’s nine-month walk from Cape Cod to Long Beach, Calif., is anticlimactic. Dean Karnazes hardly seems to be exerting himself as he runs 50 marathons on 50 consecutive days, and the comments of an Air Force Thunderbirds pilot and a military Surgeon’s Assistant in Iraq come off as carefully bland. The survivors of a hurricane at sea, a lightning strike and a tornado, on the other hand, tell more compelling stories. Most of the color photos are at least marginally relevant, and each entry closes with a short note on its subject’s subsequent activities. Casual browsers will be drawn to at least some of the reconstructed narratives in this uneven collection. A reading list would have been more useful than the superfluous index, though. Fun, in a scattershot sort of way. (Nonfiction browsing item. 10-12)

Pub Date: March 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-4027-6711-1

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: Jan. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2011

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