Horse Hooves and Chicken Feet: Mexican Folktales

Overview

This unique collection of fifteen folktales draws on the rich storytelling tradition of Mexico’s people and culture. Classic themes and fairytale elements are blended with magic and transformation and infused with Roman Catholic imagery to create a distinctly Mexican flavor and flare. The Virgin Mary plays the role of fairy godmother, devils gamble for souls, and witches make themselves known by dancing at fiestas with horse hooves instead of feet. And as in other folk traditions, cats, dogs, fools, soldiers, and...

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Overview

This unique collection of fifteen folktales draws on the rich storytelling tradition of Mexico’s people and culture. Classic themes and fairytale elements are blended with magic and transformation and infused with Roman Catholic imagery to create a distinctly Mexican flavor and flare. The Virgin Mary plays the role of fairy godmother, devils gamble for souls, and witches make themselves known by dancing at fiestas with horse hooves instead of feet. And as in other folk traditions, cats, dogs, fools, soldiers, and princesses go on quests and have magical adventures. Lively retellings and vibrant, whimsical paintings, based on Mexican folk art, make these spirited tales just right for storytimes and a perfect introduction to this little-known body of folk literature. Introduction, notes on the stories, bibliography.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Richly varied collection...distinctive flavor...stylish and humorous retellings...alive with bright color...a well-put-together package. Clearly superior...enjoyable volume." SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL School Library Journal

"well-documented and authentic...Mexican flavor is strong throughout...occasional brilliant, hot watercolors...much information for the serious student of folklore." KIRKUS REVIEWS Kirkus Reviews

"15 traditional Mexican tales...lovers, princesses, magicians and priests, illustrated in the style and fiesta-bright hues of Mexican folk art." PUBLISHERS WEEKLY Publishers Weekly

"useful and attractively presented...stories are simply yet effectively retold...exuberant illustrations...illuminating introduction...An extensive bibliography...a solid collection" BOOKLIST Booklist, ALA

Publishers Weekly
Horse Hooves and Chicken Feet: Mexican Folktales, ed. by Neil Philip, illus. by Jacqueline Mair, gathers 15 traditional Mexican tales of lovers, princesses, magicians and priests, illustrated in the style and fiesta-bright hues of Mexican folk art. In "The Flea," a young man must outwit a great magician if he hopes to marry the magician's daughter; in "Pedro the Trickster," a clever man tricks Death. (Sept.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Here is a delightful smattering of folktales from our neighbor to the south. These Mexican tales are enhanced by the exuberantly colorful illustrations of Jacqueline Mair, which are crafted cleverly enough to conceal details of each folktale. While it is evident many of these folktales are based on the country's solid Catholic faith, one needn't be Catholic to enjoy them, though it probably helps. "The Priest who had a glimpse of Glory" and "The two Maria's" are prime examples of their religious foundation. The title of this work refers to the symbolism for witches as described in the tale of the same name, blending deceiving beauty and attractiveness with evil and the demonic. Following the tales are notes on each story, complete with AT number classification. The notes include what source these folktales were taken from and any title variations. Though written for nine-to-twelve-year olds, folktales are ageless and appropriate for every age. Come and partake of another tradition and experience the wealth of another culture. 2003, Clarion Books, Ages 9 to 12.
— Elizabeth Young
School Library Journal
Gr 3-7-From the familiar "Cinderella" variant presented in "The Two Marias" to the Chelm-like stupidity of the "The Mule Drivers Who Lost Their Feet," this richly varied collection presents the unique blend of folkloric elements and Catholicism that defines Mexican folklore. In an informative introduction, Philip delineates the distinctive flavor of Mexican tales, their blend of religion and humor, and the particular pointed bite of many of the stories. The sparkle he discerns in the body of work comes through clearly in his stylish and humorous retellings. Mair's primitive acrylic illustrations, based on Mexican folk art, are alive with bright color and a kinetic sensibility. They both complement and extend the spicy stories, making this a well-put-together package. Clearly superior to the Little Book of Latin American Folktales (Groundwood, 2003), this title is narrower in scope, but the excellence of the text more than compensates for it. The book concludes with detailed notes on each of the stories and an extensive bibliography. All of the stories tell aloud well, which may be the way to introduce this sound and enjoyable volume to youngsters.-Ann Welton, Grant Elementary School, Tacoma, WA Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
These 15 tales are well-documented and authentic in terms of sources, basic plot, and so forth, but the telling is flat and stilted and the finale of each often seems forced and anti-climactic, ending rather unceremoniously. A Mexican flavor is strong throughout the collection. References to saints and religious topics reflect the heritage and culture, and occasional brilliant, hot watercolors add to sense of the setting. The themes of these tales range from foolishness ("The Mule Drivers Who Lost Their Feet") to brotherly rivalry ("Cinder Juan"). End notes providing information about the origin and collection of each add much information for the serious student of folklore. An interesting collection that will attract some readers because of the origin of the tales (and the usefulness of the origin notes) but the collection lacks the spice necessary to make it a first choice. (Folktales. 8+)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780618194636
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 9/22/2003
  • Pages: 84
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 7.86 (w) x 10.20 (h) x 0.35 (d)

Meet the Author

Neil Philip is a noted folklorist and anthologist who has written several books on Native American and multicultural themes for Clarion, including IN A SACRED MANNER I LIVE, which was named both a YALSA Best Book for Young Adults and a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. He lives in England.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 1
The Flea 5
The Story of the Sun and the Moon 8
The Tailor Who Sold His Soul to the Devil 16
The Hog 18
Pedro the Trickster 19
The Shadow 26
Horse Hooves and Chicken Feet 36
The Seven Oxen 38
The Mule Drivers Who Lost Their Feet 44
The Two Marias 46
The Priest Who Had a Glimpse of Glory 53
The Brave Widow 54
The Endless Tale 60
Cinder Juan 63
The Storyteller's Parting Words 70
Notes on the Stories 71
Bibliography 81
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