Juan the Bear and the Water of Life: La Acequia de Juan del Osoby Enrique R. Lamadrid, Juan Estevan Arellano, Amy Córdova, Genaro M. Padilla, Erlinda Gonzales-Berry
La Acequia del Rito y la Sierra in the Mora Valley is the highest and most famous traditional irrigation system in New Mexico. It carries water up and over a mountain ridge and across a sub-continental divide, from the tributaries of the Río Grande to the immense watershed of the Mora, Canadian, Arkansas, and Mississippi Rivers. The names and stories of
La Acequia del Rito y la Sierra in the Mora Valley is the highest and most famous traditional irrigation system in New Mexico. It carries water up and over a mountain ridge and across a sub-continental divide, from the tributaries of the Río Grande to the immense watershed of the Mora, Canadian, Arkansas, and Mississippi Rivers. The names and stories of those who created this acequia to sustain their communities have mostly been lost and replaced by myths and legends. Now, when children ask, some parents attribute the task of moving mountains and changing the course of rivers to Juan del Oso, the stouthearted man whose father was a bear. From the mountains of northern Spain to the Andes in South America, Spanish-speaking people have told ancient legends of Juan del Oso and his friends. In this children's tale, agriculturalist Juan Estevan Arellano and folklorist Enrique Lamadrid share a unique version of a celebrated story that has been told in northern New Mexico for centuries.
Reading level: ages 10 and up
According to New Mexican folklore, the region's acequias , or irrigation canals, were created by Juan del Oso, the product of an unusual union between a woman and a curious, gentle bear. Their son's supernatural strength let him move mountains and redirect rivers so the Southwestern deserts could blossom. The English and Spanish versions of this engaging tall tale sit side by side. Córdova's bold colors and brushstrokes evoke the rustic folk-art styles of the Southwest. Insets on some pages of text highlight an image from the narrative and the illustrations opposite, giving readers visual cues about important ideas in the story. This book may resonate most strongly among Latino families with roots in Mexico and the American Southwest. However, children of all ethnic backgrounds will enjoy this story about animals with human characteristics. A prologue explains the region's unique history and legends. The glossary is especially noteworthy because it identifies certain expressions in the text as Southwestern regionalisms. A good choice for public libraries that serve bicultural families, and for school libraries where folklore is part of the curriculum.-Mary Landrum, Lexington Public Library, KY
- University of New Mexico Press
- Publication date:
- Paso Por Aqui Series in the Nuevomexicano Literary Heritage
- Edition description:
- Bilingual Edition
- Product dimensions:
- 8.60(w) x 11.20(h) x 0.40(d)
- Age Range:
- 7 - 10 Years
Meet the Author
Enrique R. Lamadrid is a literary folklorist and cultural historian in the University of New Mexico's Department of Spanish and Portuguese.
Juan Estevan Arellano, a native of Embudo, New Mexico, is a poet, artist, writer, and agronomist. He is an expert in traditional Spanish/Moorish agriculture and the sustaining of traditional crops originally brought to New Mexico from Europe and Central Mexico.
Amy Cordova lives in Taos, New Mexico, and is a longtime artist and educator. She has illustrated many children's books and has won several awards for illustration, including the ALA Pura Belpró Award.
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