Gloria Anzaldúa uniquely reinterprets the famous Mexican legend ofla Llorona.
Children's Literature - Kathy WrightPrietita's mother becomes ill and the only remedy is an herb that Prietita must seek for the curandera. The herb can only be found on the King Ranch, a place forbidden to intruders. Prietita gets lost in the woods and wanders into the night following the animals. She hears a cry that she believes is that of La Llorona, the ghost woman, who wanders the earth in search of her children whom she has drowned. La Llorona appears to her and guides her to the herb and then back to the edge of the ranch where people have come searching for her with lanterns. They tell her that it can't be La Llorona because she takes children, she doesn't help them, but Prietita still believes that it is. She learns that things are not always as they seem, or as she has heard from her elders. The author states that she hopes children will "look beneath the surface of what things seem to be in order to discover the truths that may be hidden." This book gives a new slant to the well-known Mexican legend of La Llorona and will encourage young readers to examine the other side to a story. Available in both Spanish and English.
School Library JournalGr 3-6In this bilingual (English/Spanish) tale, Prietita seeks a remedy for her mother's illness. Doa Lola, the curandera or healer, sends her in search of the rue plant, but Prietita gets lost in the woods. She appeals to the various animals (deer, salamander, dove) that she meets for help, but in vain. Then La Llorona appears and guides the girl to the plant and out of the woods. La Llorona, the "Crying Woman," is traditionally a bogey: frightening, unredeemable, she lures children away from their families and disappears with them. Anzalda's story, though, casts her as a helpful, benign figure. A source note explains the reason for this change. Whether readers can accept this version or not, this tale provides a fascinating context in which to introduce and discuss folktales. The well-written English text includes a number of Spanish terms. Gonzalez's lovely folk paintings, awash in bright colors, authentically portray the people and native plants and animals of this South Texas locale. Prietita was also featured in Anzalda's Friends from the Other Side/Amigos del Otro Lado (Children's Book Pr., 1993).Marilyn Taniguchi, Santa Monica Public Library, CA
Kirkus ReviewsAnzaldúa (Friends from the Other Side, 1993, etc.) offers a feminist interpretation of the familiar Mexican legend of la Llorona, the sobbing ghost woman who steals children at night. Night has already fallen when Prietita, lost in the Texas woods while seeking the plant that will cure her mother, hears a woman crying. In spite of her grandmother's frightening stories about the ghost woman, Prietita forces herself to go to her, and in the process discovers that ghostsand probably people, tooaren't always what others think. The ghost woman benevolently guides Prietita to the right plant and then out of the woods. The text appears in both Spanish and English; dramatic illustrations with the bold forms of mural art completely fill each spread, laden with southwestern flora and Mexican motifs.
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