HOLD UP THE SKY

AND OTHER NATIVE AMERICAN TALES FROM TEXAS AND THE SOUTHERN PLAINS

Curry (The Egyptian Box, 2002, etc.) has once again produced a stellar collection of Native American tales. Bound by geographical origins, this collection represents tales from 14 tribes and at least five different cultures. The 26 tales are not generally well-known, although some are similar to tales from other tribes. “The Ghost Woman” tells the Kiowa-Apache version of the man who wanders into a tipi that is the burial place of a beautiful woman. She makes herself visible and is allowed to live with him as long as he does not call her “Ghost Woman.” Years pass, the couple has a son, and life seems very good. But one day in anger her husband calls her by the forbidden name and she vanishes, as do the husband and the son. In other retellings, this might have been the explanation for the origin of a particular constellation, but not so here. Each of the tales in this collection carries a familiar motif or two but has a variation not widely published. Curry’s satisfying retellings are straightforward, with little embellishment, and her end notes concerning the source of each story are interesting and authenticate the collection. Storytellers will value this resource and readers will savor the variety of clever tales. (Folktales. 8-12)

Pub Date: April 1, 2003

ISBN: 0-689-85287-8

Page Count: 176

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2003

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Simple, bella, un regalo permenente: simple and beautiful, a gift that will stay.

HOW TÍA LOLA CAME TO (VISIT) STAY

From the Tía Lola Stories series , Vol. 1

Renowned Latin American writer Alvarez has created another story about cultural identity, but this time the primary character is 11-year-old Miguel Guzmán. 

When Tía Lola arrives to help the family, Miguel and his hermana, Juanita, have just moved from New York City to Vermont with their recently divorced mother. The last thing Miguel wants, as he's trying to fit into a predominantly white community, is a flamboyant aunt who doesn't speak a word of English. Tía Lola, however, knows a language that defies words; she quickly charms and befriends all the neighbors. She can also cook exotic food, dance (anywhere, anytime), plan fun parties, and tell enchanting stories. Eventually, Tía Lola and the children swap English and Spanish ejercicios, but the true lesson is "mutual understanding." Peppered with Spanish words and phrases, Alvarez makes the reader as much a part of the "language" lessons as the characters. This story seamlessly weaves two culturaswhile letting each remain intact, just as Miguel is learning to do with his own life. Like all good stories, this one incorporates a lesson just subtle enough that readers will forget they're being taught, but in the end will understand themselves, and others, a little better, regardless of la lengua nativa—the mother tongue.

Simple, bella, un regalo permenente: simple and beautiful, a gift that will stay. (Fiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: March 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-375-80215-0

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2001

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With comically realistic black-and-white illustrations by Selznick (The Robot King, 1995, etc.), this is a captivating...

FRINDLE

Nicholas is a bright boy who likes to make trouble at school, creatively. 

When he decides to torment his fifth-grade English teacher, Mrs. Granger (who is just as smart as he is), by getting everyone in the class to replace the word "pen'' with "frindle,'' he unleashes a series of events that rapidly spins out of control. If there's any justice in the world, Clements (Temple Cat, 1995, etc.) may have something of a classic on his hands. By turns amusing and adroit, this first novel is also utterly satisfying. The chess-like sparring between the gifted Nicholas and his crafty teacher is enthralling, while Mrs. Granger is that rarest of the breed: a teacher the children fear and complain about for the school year, and love and respect forever after. 

With comically realistic black-and-white illustrations by Selznick (The Robot King, 1995, etc.), this is a captivating tale—one to press upon children, and one they'll be passing among themselves. (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-689-80669-8

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1996

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