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Children's LiteratureThis slim story collection opens with simple text and vivid, powerful art—an unbeatable combination. The storytelling voice of Menchu herself depends less on literary device than on the art of oral narrative. A brief introduction sets a scene of ancestors telling tales around a fire. The sparks and heat are palpable as is the intensity of this memory. All in all, memory is writ large in this collection. At their core these are intimate tales of family and community told in the first person. They ring clear and true, startling in their lack of sentimentality. The grandfather practically kidnaps his bride-to-be when he is forbidden to marry her. She feels terror as much as longing, an emotional turmoil that is conveyed refreshingly unmasked. Stories of mouse eyes and rabbit tails mix in with stories of life and death, birthing babies, growing corn, keeping bees, and understanding the place called home. If sorrow informs some of these short pieces, one can hear pride singing in others. An account of Menchu's naming is funny and poignant. Each autobiographical tale marks a culture in transition. This endangered traditional world of the indigenous Mayan people is one that children deserve to know, crafted in a voice that reteller and translator have taken pains to deliver up as a gift. Mexican artist Domi's illustrations are rich with color and alive with the energy of vanishing rivers and swarming bees. 2005, Groundwood, Ages 9 up.