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The Twenty-Five Mixtec Cats
     

The Twenty-Five Mixtec Cats

by Matthew Gollub, Leovigildo V. Martinez (Illustrator)
 

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The healer in an Oaxacan village returns from market with 25 kittens, but the unfamiliar animals are viewed by the townspeople with suspicion and scorn. When an evil spell threatens the local butcher, the healer and his cats save her life and win the villagers' hearts. "Succeeds on all levels....The story is told in easy colloquial English that has the cadenced feel

Overview

The healer in an Oaxacan village returns from market with 25 kittens, but the unfamiliar animals are viewed by the townspeople with suspicion and scorn. When an evil spell threatens the local butcher, the healer and his cats save her life and win the villagers' hearts. "Succeeds on all levels....The story is told in easy colloquial English that has the cadenced feel of Spanish. The illustrations are remarkable."—School Library Journal.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Mysticism and superstition underlie this humorous Mexican folktale, the debut of both author and artist. An impoverished healer buys a litter of kittens with the hope of reselling them, only to encounter the mistrust of the villagers who ``imagined wild things.'' Fears that ``they eat mice but also cows,'' and ``they'll set fire to our fields'' drive the townspeople to hire an evil healer to dispose of the cats. The pack of coyotes she dispatches prove to be no match for the crafty felines, who ultimately win the hearts of the villagers by helping the good healer save the butcher's life. Martinez's whimsical, masterfully executed watercolors are rendered in sundried pastels and sandy earthtones befitting the South-of-the-border locale. Surrounded by wide margins full of mischievous cats, prowling coyotes and various Indian icons, the paintings seem tipped onto their fanciful backgrounds--a particularly eye-catching technique. Faces manage to appear at once stylized and realistic, while shading and shadow are used throughout to striking effect. Indeed, the artwork somewhat eclipses the text here: Gollub's prose is always serviceable--and occasionally more--but some passages seem repetitious and overlong. Ages 6-up. (Apr.)
Children's Literature - Deborah Zink Roffino
Sun-baked adobe homes cover the mountain village in this original tale from Oaxaca (wa-HAH-kah), in southern Mexico. It is a lesson on being tolerant of newcomers, of change. When a litter of kittens arrives, the superstitious residents spread all sorts of misinformation regarding these foreign creatures-until the cats prove themselves loyal and valuable. Leovigildo Martinez, a celebrated Oaxacan artist, depicts his village in surrealistic shadows, scorched areas smudged with dark corners.
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
K-Gr 6-- It is a rare original folktale that has the feeling and sensibility of the real thing, and this one succeeds on all levels. A healer from a little village in Oaxaca makes a bare-bones living from his craft. One day, at the Mixtec market, he is given 25 kittens. Thinking to sell them in his village, where no one has cats, he takes them home in a pillowcase. But none of the superstitious villagers will take one, so he becomes their owner. Though the animals grow into loyal and useful helpers to the good man, the people remain suspicious of them. Finally, when the butcher is placed under a spell by an evil healer, it is the cats who save her, and peace comes to the village. The story is told in easy colloquial English that has the cadenced feel of Spanish. The illustrations are remarkable. Done in predominantly desert hues of yellow, ocher, blue, and pink, in a primitive, folk style, the bordered watercolors bring the text to life. The people are bulky and have a sense of volume created by the use of white space. Their faces resemble those of the cats, giving an eerie relatedness to the characters. This is a tale that children will pore over and want to hear again and again. Stronger in narrative line than The Woman Who Outshone the Sun (Children's Book Pr, 1991) by Alejandro Cruz Martinez, it's a sound introduction to some of the elements of Mexican folklore. --Ann Welton, Terminal Park Elementary School, Auburn, WA

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781889910284
Publisher:
Tortuga Press
Publication date:
08/28/2004
Edition description:
REV
Pages:
32
Product dimensions:
8.60(w) x 11.20(h) x 0.40(d)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

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