Pedro and the Padre: A Tale from Jalisco, Mexico

Pedro and the Padre: A Tale from Jalisco, Mexico

by Verna Aardema, Friso Henstra

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Once again, Aardema ( Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears ) proves what an effective--and valuable--genre the folktale is. Young readers will find the hero of this story so engaging and entertaining that they won't even realize he is teaching them an important lesson. Pedro is a Mexican boy who has two major faults: he is lazy, and he has no trouble telling a lie to get himself out of a sticky situation. After he falls asleep one too many times while working on his father's farm, Pedro is sent out into the world to make a living, then taken in by a kind padre who offers shelter and food in return for chores. But Pedro cannot camouflage his flaws. Before long the boy absconds with his employer's burro and sombrero. The scheming lad has several humorous encounters with unwary travelers, whom he manages to swindle. But eventually Pedro learns that he must mend his ways, and, contrite, returns home to the padre. Henstra contributes atmospheric ink-and-watercolor paintings that portray the lifestyle, traditional dress and countryside of Mexico--and successfully catch the gleam in Pedro's eye. Ages 4-8. (Mar.)
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
Gr 1-3-- Pedro's father, despairing of making a worker of him, turns him loose to earn his own way in the world. A padre hires Pedro as a helper, but the boy's laziness reasserts itself and his interest in the job wanes. He lies to the priest about his chores, insisting that a book entitled How to Lie is responsible for his bad habits. His odyssey to fetch the nonexistent book comprises the major portion of the plot. Pedro bamboozles a farmer with a story of a money tree, and then cons a pair of traders by selling them a ``magic bird.'' When the traders angrily turn on him, Pedro luckily escapes and returns to the priest, penitent. His remorse is entirely unconvincing as are other plot elements. Readers may understand at first that Pedro's besetting sin is laziness, but soon his lies become the focus. Nonessential details are mentioned gratuitously and confusingly, which not only does not advance the story, but also impedes it. Then there is the question of cultural stereotyping; the lazy, lying Hispanic on one hand, and the stupid, gullible one on the other surely don't need further representation. Henstra's pictures are done in his distinctive style of heavily shaded pen-and-ink line drawings filled in with bright colors; they are excellent examples of how well deserved his reputation is. What a pity the story doesn't support them. --Ruth Semrau, Lovejoy Sch ., Allen, TX

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Product Details

Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
8.80(w) x 10.70(h) x 0.40(d)
Age Range:
3 - 8 Years

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