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Fiesta Femenina: Celebrating Women in Mexican Folktales Hardcover – August, 2001

5.0 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Hardcover, August, 2001
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Eight more heroines representing different cultural traditions are noted in Fiesta Femenina: Celebrating Women in Mexican Folktales retold by Mary-Joan Gerson, illus. by Maya Christina Gonzalez. The famous legend of "The Virgin of Guadalupe" sits alongside the Mayan tale "Rosha and the Sun," in which a girl rescues the sun after her brother traps it, and the Aztec tale "Malintzin of the Mountain," sheds light on the controversial woman who fell for Cort‚s and helped him conquer her own people. Vibrant illustrations in the tradition of each culture, and attractive borders that unify each tale, bring these women to life.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Gr 3-6-A sophisticated and well-told collection of stories about Mexican women, these eight tales include folklore from a variety of the country's rich cultural traditions. Beginning with Maya and Aztec stories, Gerson also relates folktales of Mixtec, Yaqui, and Euro-Mexican origin. The protagonists are all unique and powerful in differing ways, showing bravery, cunning, trustworthiness, empathy, and serene certainty. Running the gamut from religious ("The Virgin of Guadalupe") to traditional ("Blancaflor," in which a young woman uses magic to help her man) to comic ("Why the Moon is Free"), these selections are soundly composed, diverse, and celebratory of both the women and the land from which they come. Gerson's prose is lively and engaging, drawing readers in and conveying pictures of believable people in fantastic situations. Gonzalez's primitive acrylic paintings are strong and vigorous, and their riotous use of color enhances the stories tremendously. This is a highly successful melding of story and pictures, and will appeal to upper-elementary students-with a little selling to get them past the picture-book appearance. A worthy addition to most folktale collections, this is more child-oriented than John Bierhorst's The Monkey's Haircut (Morrow, 1986), and is enhanced by a thoughtful introduction and thorough source notes.

Ann Welton, Grant Elementary School, Tacoma, WA

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 and up
  • Hardcover: 64 pages
  • Publisher: Barefoot Books (August 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1841483656
  • ISBN-13: 978-1841483658
  • Product Dimensions: 10.7 x 8.9 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #485,072 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

I picked up a copy of Fiesta Femenina because the beautiful cover art looked like some Mexican murals I saw in California. I am blown away, not just by the subject matter -- tales of women's strength in Mexian folklore -- but also by the writing style.
There is one story that really stood out for me called "Rosha and the Sun." It is a wonderful, classic Mayan tale about a determined but tender young woman whose mystical life describes an aspect of the natural world. Gerson creates a truly intoxicating effect with those small but important details: "Rosha's hair was especially thick and lustrous, hanging down like a cornstalk to her feet... It was a hot, sticky day and all the breezes were trapped behind the mountain's wall of trees.... Rosha slipped off by herself to dip her burning feet in the bubbling stream..."
"Rosha and the Sun," and the other 7 native tales are real page-turners, but I must admit that I was taken aback at first by the untranslated words and phrases sprinkled througout the text, but then I discovered that this book has a glossary. A nice touch, I thought.
I have been searching bookstores for years for a book of Latino folklore in English and I have had very bad luck up until this point, so finding a group of such authentic tales that are all about women is very exciting to me. I can only hope that Fiesta Feminina is a harbinger of a whole genre of literature to be created or translated for English speakers.
A real find.
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By A Customer on November 2, 2001
It is a beautiful re-telling of Mexican folktales. I loved the colorful illustrations and the emphasis on women. I was impressed by the careful way the stories were authenticated. I think that children will really benefit from reading this book, both in terms of pleasure and in feeling more familiar with Mexican culture.
My favorite stories were Rosha and the Sun, and the Virgin of Guadelupe but all eight stories were wonderful.
The most impressive aspect of this book is the writing. It is perfectly attuned to the age 8 and older group it is aimed at, with flowing prose that beautifully captures its Mexican theme. The writer clearly knows Mexico very well.
I highly recommend this book.
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Verified Purchase
A lovely book, full of bold, beautiful, and colorful drawings together with a highly informative and lively text for each goddess or mythic figure. I bought a copy for myself and am going to buy another for a baby girl that I know being raised in a hispanic country.
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