The Lady in the Blue Cloak: Tales of the Texas Missions


For each Texas mission there is a rich and complicated history. In the title story, from the Mision de San Francisco de los Tejas, a mysterious woman in blue visits the Tejas people to prepare them for the missionaries' arrival. Here Eric A. Kimmel gracefully retells powerful legends behind four of the missions.
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For each Texas mission there is a rich and complicated history. In the title story, from the Mision de San Francisco de los Tejas, a mysterious woman in blue visits the Tejas people to prepare them for the missionaries' arrival. Here Eric A. Kimmel gracefully retells powerful legends behind four of the missions.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Kimmel (Gershon's Monster) delves into a lesser-known topic the lore of the beginnings of Spanish missions in Texas with this unusual and compelling collection. Beginning with the title figure, a mysterious woman who, in the late 1600s, appeared to the Tejas Indians near the mission now known as San Francisco de los Tejas, the author explores the origins of several missions, which rose for both reasons of religious faith and practice, and as protection against encroaching enemies as the New World expanded. The entries here contain various elements, including saintly biographies and ghost stories that depict faithful obedience as well as the motivating power of romantic love. As an example, a young carpenter leaves his betrothed behind in Spain to work on a mission church in Texas; when he learns that his beloved has died, he works through his grief by throwing himself into his project (which becomes Rosa's Window at the Mission of San Jos and San Miguel de Aguayo). Once readers discover the significance of these sites, they may be inspired to visit them. Guevera (Chato and the Party Animals) provides an opener to each legend with her elegant full-page oil paintings evocative of the symbols and themes of the era. Ages 6-10. (Oct.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature - Ginjer L. Clarke
The six short stories in this collection retell legends from the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, when Spanish missionaries established early Christian churches in Texas, over the objections and attacks of the indigenous peoples. A brief introduction explains the conflicting nature of these encounters, but the stories avoid controversy and seem at times to be as whitewashed as some of the old missions. Each story opens with a soft, lush, full-page oil painting reverentially depicting the story's main subject. The titular story describes a woman in a blue cloak who comes to visit the Tejas Indians and foretells the arrival of the missionaries and all the good things they will provide. The woman's identity is a mystery, but the story tells of a nun who had visions, kept a journal describing people whom she had never met but who sounded like the Tejas Indians, and wore a blue cloak. This mystical tone (in the fashion of religious ghost stories and with a touch of O. Henry irony) continues throughout the other stories. This picture book for older readers may tie into some classroom discussions of this time period but probably should not be used as a strict historical reference. It will likely be most interesting to students in Texan and Catholic schools, for whom the material will be more personal.
School Library Journal
Gr 1-4-Each of these six selections opens with a full-page illustration that captures the heart of its story. The gorgeous oil paintings are filled with light and religious imagery befitting the legends. The tales are all well told and engaging, but the endings are rather abrupt. The last chapter, "The Padre's Gift," contains two selections about the mysterious padre of San Antonio and is the best of the bunch. A time line about the creation and use of the Texas missions is included, and Kimmel cites his source for the stories in an author's note. This is a lovely book that will probably prove most useful in Texas and possibly in other areas with a history of Spanish missions.-S K Joiner, Brazoria County Library System, Angleton, TX Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Kimmel retells six tales from Adina de Zavala's History and Legends of the Alamo and Other Missions In and Around San Antonio (1996). These are stories of miracles involving padres, Our Lady and unwavering faith for young readers. The background is 17th-, 18th- and early 19th-century Texas, then under the rule of Spain and Mexico, and the conflicts between Spanish colonizers and Indians is evident in these brief tales, which include strong moral lessons. A pair of stories about padres concludes, "Always be polite and kind to strangers, especially if they wear brown robes and walk with sandals on their feet." This is "what parents in San Antonio tell their children to this day." Guevara's lush full-page illustrations contain holy figures, often larger than life, radiating beams of light, and sometimes floating through the air, in the style of popular religious art well suited to these tales. These tales of simple folk beliefs may charm some readers and irritate others. (timeline for the Texas Missions, introduction, author's note) (Folktale anthology. 6-10)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780823417384
  • Publisher: Holiday House, Inc.
  • Publication date: 7/28/2006
  • Pages: 40
  • Age range: 6 - 10 Years
  • Lexile: 730L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 9.30 (w) x 10.60 (h) x 0.40 (d)

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