Erandi's Braids

Overview

The yellow dress Erandi wants for her birthday will look beautiful with her long, thick braids. But Mama's fishing net is full of holes, and there isn't enough money to buy both a new net and a birthday dress. The only solution lies with the hair buyers from the city. But Mama's hair isn't nearly as beautiful as Erandi's. Will Erandi have to choose between her birthday present and her braids? This touching tale of love and sacrifice is sprinkled throughout with Spanish words and...

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Overview

The yellow dress Erandi wants for her birthday will look beautiful with her long, thick braids. But Mama's fishing net is full of holes, and there isn't enough money to buy both a new net and a birthday dress. The only solution lies with the hair buyers from the city. But Mama's hair isn't nearly as beautiful as Erandi's. Will Erandi have to choose between her birthday present and her braids? This touching tale of love and sacrifice is sprinkled throughout with Spanish words and expressions.

In a poor Mexican village, Erandi surprises her mother by offering to sell her long, beautiful hair in order to raise enough money to buy a new fishing net.

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Editorial Reviews

Booklist
A touching story with the tenderness of O. Henry's 'Gift of the Magi'.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Erandi, a Mexican girl, looks forward to her birthday and a forthcoming village fiesta with great anticipation--after all, she hopes to have a new dress to wear. But Erandi's dreams of pretty things are soon interrupted. Mam 's fishing net, with which she catches their food, is too torn to repair and there is not enough money to buy a new net as well as a dress. Erandi receives her new frock, but afterward, she and Mam head for the barber shop. Erandi is terrified that Mam will sell Erandi's beautiful long braids to the hair buyers from the city, but it is Mam who steps into the chair. When the barber tells Mam that her hair is not long enough, Erandi summons her courage and offers her own tresses, earning enough money for a fishing net and another special birthday present. Madrigal (The Eagle and the Rainbow: Timeless Stories of M xico) creates a vivid portrait of life in the hilly village of P tzcuaro, Mexico, 50 years ago and sprinkles his text with a few basic Spanish words (huipil, tortillas, hija) easily deciphered by their context (though a glossary is included). DePaola's creamy gouache paintings in muted colors give this story of self-sacrifice and family love a sunny warmth. Such details as traditional Mexican architecture, pottery and clothing further define the time and place. Ages 4-8. (Feb.)
Children's Literature - Gisela Jernigan
A Tarascan Indian fishing village in the state of Michoacan, Mexico, during the 1940s is the setting for this touching picture book. Young Erandi and her mother are poor and desperately need a new fishing net. They would also both love for Erandi to have a new dress and a doll for her birthday. When Mama's efforts to fulfill these goals by selling her hair fail, Erandi bravely finds a bittersweet solution by selling her longer braids instead. DePaola's bright, folk art type illustrations reflect the Mexican setting and the caring dignity of Erandi and her mother very well. A glossary of Spanish words and an author's note are included.
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3--Set in the Mexican village of Patzcuaro, this is the story of a young girl's selflessness and her mother's tenderness. Excited about her birthday, Erandi hopes for a present, but when her mother worries that their fishing net is worn out, the girl fears that they will not be able to afford a gift. The next day, however, the purchase of a yellow dress sets her heart at ease--until her mother takes her to the barber shop where the braids of the local women are cut off and sold to merchants from the city. There, Erandi fears that her mother will sell her braids, but in the end the child makes her own decision. According to an author's note, this story draws on the practice of the Tarascan women of the Michoacan province of selling their hair for use in making false eyelashes, wigs, and fine embroidery during the 1940s and `50s. While the idea of making sacrifices for the people one loves is universal, the context into which the tale is set makes the whole seem a bit labored. Bordering on the didactic, it is saved by dePaola's signature paintings, which use earth tones and blues to bring the village and the characters to life. Perhaps best used as support for social studies units on Latin America, this tale serves to point out the human ties that cross cultural lines.--Ann Welton, Terminal Park Elementary School, Auburn, WA
Kirkus Reviews
DePaola's signature rounded characters and folk-influenced palette invigorate this slim Mexican folktale. The next day will be Erandi's birthday, and though she would love a new dress for the upcoming village fiesta, she isn't expecting much. But Erandi's hardworking Mamá is determined to buy her something special. "We will pay the best prices for your hair. Come to Miguel's Barber Shop tomorrow," a loudspeaker on the street beckons, giving Mamá an idea of what she must do to ensure her daughter a happy day. At first, Erandi is frightened-whose hair will Mamá sell? Mamá tries to sell her own hair, but the barber says it is not long enough; this selfless act gives Erandi the courage to sell her own hair, and in the end, she earns a dress and a doll. Although the storyline-equating the cutting of hair with sacrifice, as it was for O. Henry's young couple and Alcott's Jo-is not entirely new, dePaola's work transports readers to the innocence and austerity of a timeless Mexican village. (glossary) (Picture book. 4-7) .
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780698118850
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 3/28/2001
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 287,213
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Lexile: AD500L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 8.00 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 0.12 (d)

Meet the Author

Tomie dePaola
Tomie dePaola
Best known for his award-winning picture book Strega Nona and for the 26 Fairmount Avenue series of chapter books, Tomie dePaola is one of the most prolific -- and beloved -- author/illustrators in the field of children's literature.

Biography

Born in 1934 into a large extended Irish/Italian family, Tomie dePaola received his art education at Brooklyn's Pratt Institute and the California College of Arts & Crafts. Although he always wanted to create children's books, he spent several years applying his talents to the fields of education, theater, and graphic design. In the mid-1960s, he received his first commission to illustrate a children's science book. A year later, he published his first original picture book, The Wonderful Dragon of Timlin. Today, he is one of the most prolific -- and beloved -- author/illustrators in children's literature.

In addition to illustrating stories by other writers, DePaola has created artwork for collections of poetry, nursery rhymes, holiday traditions, and folk and religious tales. But, he is most famous for books of his own creation, especially Strega Nona ("Grandma Witch"), the beloved story of an old woman who uses her magical powers to help the people of her small Italian village. Written in 1975, this Caldecott Honor winner is still delighting children today.

DePaola admits that there are strong autobiographical elements in many of his books (Nana Upstairs & Nana Downstairs, The Art Lesson, Stagestruck), but nowhere is this more evident than in 26 Fairmount Avenue, a series of charming chapter books based on his Connecticut childhood. Taking its name from the address of his family home, the series captures the experiences and emotions of a young boy growing up in the late 1930s and early '40s in the shadow of World War II. The first book in the series received a 1999 Newbery Honor Award.

DePaola and his work have been recognized with many honors, including the Smithsonian Medal, the Kerlan Award for "singular attainment in children's literature," the Catholic Library Association's Regina Medal, and several awards from the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. In 1999, the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts bestowed on dePaola the Lotte Jacobi Living Treasure Award for the body of his work.

Good To Know

  • Tomie dePaola's name is pronounced Tommy de POW-la.

  • Between college and graduate school, dePaola spent a short time in a Benedictine monastery before determining that religious life was not for him.

  • Using a combination of watercolor, tempera, and acrylic, dePaola's artistic style is best described as folk-traditional.

  • DePaola's favorite painters and strongest artistic influences are Matisse, Giotto, and Ben Shahn.
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