Ortiz Cofer has written four fun, lighthearted, short tales that feature animals of all kinds, from lions to cats, dogs to ants, and goats to mice. “The Animals’ Grand Fiesta” is a cautionary tale where animals learn to be wary of gifts from lions, and it is the dog that saves his friend, the goat, from becoming dinner. “The Brave Little Ant and El Senor Chivo” is a cumulative tale which demonstrates how small things (an ant) can accomplish mighty feats – this tale is reminiscent of the Mexican folktale “The Goat in the Chile Patch” published by Judy Sierra in her Multicultural Folktales. Incorporating numerous dichos within the text, “A Funeral for Nangato” is a cautionary tale to mice everywhere to remember that cats do have nine lives. Finally, “The Parrot Who Loved Chorizos” is another cautionary tale that warns readers not to let their stomach get the better of them. Spanish words are sprinkled throughout the English text with their inference provided by contextual clues. Unfortunately, source notes are not provided to allow for cultural contextualization nor does Cofer describe how she has altered these folktales, adding her own spin. Nonetheless, her stories are engaging and would make a good addition to fiction collections. Recommended.
Reviewed by Amy Olson, Children's/Teen Librarian, MorphoLiteracy.com, Lexington, KY