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School Library Journal
Gr 2-4- Many versions of this popular Mexican folktale exist, some terrifying and bloody, some highly political, some of the kind that impatient caregivers once told to keep their children from running outside at night. Much of this book is given over to describing Maria, a discontented poor girl who goes off with Don Ramón because she thinks her life will be easier. In this version, she doesn't kill her children after he leaves her. She simply blames them and forgets about them in her tempestuous raging; when she finds them gone, she searches and weeps, first as a living woman and then as a ghost. The Spanish words and phrases are repeated in English, and a glossary gives pronunciations. The illustrations are done in soft earth tones in a style reminiscent of Mexican folk art. The cover shows a shivery-looking ghost, letting readers know what is in store for them. Given the limitations of the easy-reader format and the necessity of not terrifying young audiences too much, this is a creditable retelling. The ending, "If La Llorona sees a child by the river at night, will she think that child is her own? Will she take that child away with her forever? ¿Quién sabe? Who knows?," is sure to send delicious chills down the spines of readers.-Marian Drabkin, formerly at Richmond Public Library, CACopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.