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CriticasGrade 3-5–Firmly set in the Mayan traditions of the Yucatan Peninsula and told in its colloquial dialect, this collection of 11 tales includes both creation myths and pourquoi stories. The initial story begins in the village of Chimel with the annual fiesta but moves into the tale of Grandmother Moon and Grandfather Sun's boredom, from which all creation came to be. From this moment of creation to the advent of the marimbas, the cultural sense of integration between animals, people, and the environment is utterly clear, and the message of the interdependence of all creation is unmistakable. Static and slow moving despite their inherently interesting premises—a man who trades places with a vulture, how monkeys descend from humans and not the other way around, the reason some animals are four footed and other are not—the stores do not hold readers' interest when read. Memorized and recounted, especially if abridged a bit, they may well have more appeal. The pen-and-ink and watercolor illustrations are awkward and amateurish, and do little to relieve the dull tenor of the text. Certainly unique in their Mayan perspective, this collection may have a place in college collections, but children will be better served by Subcomandante Marcos's The Story of Colors/La historia de los colores (Cinco Puntos, 1999) or any of Joe Hayes's excellent collections, for example The Day it Snowed Tortillas/El día que nevaron tortillas (Cinco Puntos, 2003).
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—Ann Welton, Grant Center for the Expressive Arts, Tacoma, WA