SHAKE IT, MORENA!

AND OTHER FOLKLORE FROM PUERTO RICO

The arc of a young girl’s typical school day gives structure to this presentation of a rich mixture of traditional songs, games, riddles, a few simple recipes, and stories from Puerto Rico. Bernier-Grand (In the Shade of the Nispero Tree, 1999, etc.) presents most selections in Spanish and English and provides tidbits of background information, sometimes describing the origin of the song or tale or noting a fact about an animal or a place mentioned in a song or a riddle. The music for the songs is printed at the end of the text. Perky children portraying the racial diversity of Puerto Rico appear in their school uniforms and their play clothes and go through the actions of their day—from early morning, rising to the strains of a “Waking Up Song” with alternate verses sung by parents and children, to bedtime, when “The Song of El Coquí,” with its onomatopoetic refrain that imitates the sound of the ubiquitous island tree frog. Riddles are an important aspect of folklore in most Spanish-speaking cultures and math and animal riddles are included here, as are several stories (in English only), including a tale about the hummingbird that recalls the conflict between Caribs and Tainos in Pre-Columbian times and a Juan Bobo tale. The 27 lizards hiding in Delacre’s (Salsa Stories, 2000, etc.) clear, vibrant watercolors depicting a rural town, will demand attention from readers as they pore over the other details of a contemporary society enlivened by tradition. Although there’s not much documentation here, the presentation of this folkloric material is engaging. (Nonfiction. 5-10)

Pub Date: March 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-7613-1910-7

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Millbrook

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2002

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ABIYOYO RETURNS

The seemingly ageless Seeger brings back his renowned giant for another go in a tuneful tale that, like the art, is a bit sketchy, but chockful of worthy messages. Faced with yearly floods and droughts since they’ve cut down all their trees, the townsfolk decide to build a dam—but the project is stymied by a boulder that is too huge to move. Call on Abiyoyo, suggests the granddaughter of the man with the magic wand, then just “Zoop Zoop” him away again. But the rock that Abiyoyo obligingly flings aside smashes the wand. How to avoid Abiyoyo’s destruction now? Sing the monster to sleep, then make it a peaceful, tree-planting member of the community, of course. Seeger sums it up in a postscript: “every community must learn to manage its giants.” Hays, who illustrated the original (1986), creates colorful, if unfinished-looking, scenes featuring a notably multicultural human cast and a towering Cubist fantasy of a giant. The song, based on a Xhosa lullaby, still has that hard-to-resist sing-along potential, and the themes of waging peace, collective action, and the benefits of sound ecological practices are presented in ways that children will both appreciate and enjoy. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-689-83271-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2001

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HELLO, HARVEST MOON

As atmospheric as its companion, Twilight Comes Twice, this tone poem pairs poetically intense writing with luminescent oils featuring widely spaced houses, open lawns, and clumps of autumnal trees, all lit by a huge full moon. Fletcher tracks that moon’s nocturnal path in language rich in metaphor: “With silent slippers / it climbs the night stairs,” “staining earth and sky with a ghostly glow,” lighting up a child’s bedroom, the wings of a small plane, moonflowers, and, ranging further afield, harbor waves and the shells of turtle hatchlings on a beach. Using creamy brushwork and subtly muted colors, Kiesler depicts each landscape, each night creature from Luna moths to a sleepless child and her cat, as well as the great moon sweeping across star-flecked skies, from varied but never vertiginous angles. Closing with moonset, as dawn illuminates the world with a different kind of light, this makes peaceful reading either in season, or on any moonlit night. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 22, 2003

ISBN: 0-618-16451-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2003

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