Once Upon a Time...
Tuesday, May 22, 2012
by: Dr. Jamie C. Naidoo

Section: Children's Book Reviews

April 2010 Newsletter

Reviewed by Dr. Jamie Campbell Naidoo is an Assistant & Foster-EBSCO Endowed Professor School of Library & Information Studies University of Alabama. He received his Ph.D. in Communication and Information Studies from the University of Alabama and holds a Masters of Library and Information Studies from the University of Alabama.

Había una vez un gallo muy bello . . . begins this eclectic, bilingual collection of seven folktales originating in various countries throughout Spain and Latin America. Readers are introduced to memorable characters such as The Wedding Rooster, Martina the Cockroach, and Pedro Urdemales. Following each cuento is a brief source note that describes the origins of the tale as well as the common variants found in specific Latin American countries. While the English text can be a stilted at times, the Spanish version resonates with elements from the original oral tradition. Colón’s colorful illustrations are serviceable, although the book is text-heavy as a whole. To distinguish the English and Spanish texts, the English translation is preceded on each page by an illustration of a black bird while the Spanish is preceded by a red parrot. As a whole, the collection introduces English readers to a few new stories from the rich body of Latin American folklore; however, they may be better served with individual book-length editions of these stories via books such as Gonzalez’s The Bossy Gallito (1994). Spanish readers, on the other hand, will delight in the newest collection of folklore representing their cultural roots. Recommended with minor reservations.

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