Cofer offers a slim bilingual collection of animal tales.
In “The Animals’ Grand Fiesta,” arrogance gets the best of a lion and a lioness, and readers discover how goats lost their long bushy tails. A resourceful ant helps an older couple save their garden from a hungry goat in “The Brave Little Ant and El Señor Chivo.” In the shortest (and most awkwardly told) tale, “A Funeral for Nangato,” a cunning cat teaches a village of mice a lesson in how they live their lives. In the most entertaining story in the collection, “The Parrot Who Loved Chorizos: A Puerto Rican Tale,” a frustrated cook bests a gluttonous bird with a penchant for spicy sausage. The entire English collection is followed by the Spanish version, and the second and fourth tales are set expressly in Puerto Rico. The remaining stories contain occasional Spanish words and animals that add a Latino flavor to otherwise universal tales. Readers familiar with the author’s work may miss the original characters for which she is best known, as the tales are too short to allow many of her strengths as a writer to flourish. Humorous black-and-white illustrations complement the tales.
Although a worthy addition due to the scarcity of such books, the sparse collection would have been strengthened by additional tales. (Folktales. 8-12)