Fascinated with the Hispanic and Native American folktales of his youth, Anaya (The Farolitos of Christmas, 1995, etc.) has compiled ten stories from time-honored oral traditions, including some passed on in corridos, or songs. The tales hold lessons on respect for elders, the importance of the Catholic faith, reverence for the animal world, the role of luck in a man’s life, and whether or not we should attempt to seek immortality. The wide variety of stories demonstrate a mature understanding of life’s trappings and dangers, but retain a healthy sense of humor about the human predicament. C¢rdova’s black-and-white illustrations capture the magic and beliefs expressed by the tales. (b&w illustrations, glossary) (Fiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 29, 1999

ISBN: 0-688-15078-0

Page Count: 187

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1999


A child’s feelings of loneliness and isolation are eventually replaced with a longing for adventure in a mysterious book from Nascimbene (A Day in September, 1995, not reviewed). Sent to a boarding school in the Swiss Alps for the summer while her parents are vacationing, L£cia, homesick for S—o Paulo and family, remains detached from all activities until the day she hears distant hammering emanating from a local barn. Intrigued, L£cia discovers a kind farmer named Aldo behind the sound; he is keeping a secret from the outside world. Befriending the girl after she pours out her heart to him, Aldo decides to show her the large sailboat he has been building. L£cia, who renames all the wildflowers she finds according to her wishes, finds a wildflower she calls Ocean Deep and sends it to her parents, foreshadowing the dream she is to have later aboard Aldo’s boat; in this dream she sails close enough to her shipbound parents to wave at them. The beautifully conceived illustrations have a range of appearances, from the look of cut-paper silhouettes whose spaces have been washed in watercolor, to landscapes and seascapes with perspectives and of a simplicity of line associated with Japanese art. The typeface, though attractive, is a small size that makes this better for read-aloud sessions than reading alone; the story, long for a picture book, but deeply felt, is ripe for the interpretation of children. (Picture book. 7-11)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1999

ISBN: 1-56846-161-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 1999


An Anglo-Indian boy finds a measure of peace in the landscape of his deceased mother’s childhood, and begins to understand the source of his compulsion to run. The summer after his mother’s death, Kendall is sent to visit his great-grandfather, Armando, a Native American who lives on top of a mesa, in Acoma, or Sky City; it’s a largely abandoned pueblo built centuries ago, overlooking the valley that lies between it and another mesa known as the Enchanted Mesa. Kendall has always been a runner, driven by some inner spirit; he learns from Armando that he is the last in a long line of Acoma runners, men who ran as part of their belief system, and who were especially revered for their bravery and stamina. The mysterious Enchanted Mesa challenges Kendall to run as he never has before, and that kindles his curiosity about his family’s past and his own destiny. He begins to understand the part of his nature that he inherited from his mother, but also realizes that he will never be accepted as a true Acoman because of the Anglo blood that is his legacy from his father. Little has composed a fine coming-of-age story; she enhances it with a lot of insight into a vanishing way of life and the need to preserve it. (Fiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 8, 1999

ISBN: 0-380-97623-4

Page Count: 147

Publisher: Avon/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1999

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