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Prietita and the Ghost Woman / Prietita y la llorona Hardcover – June 16, 1997

4.1 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 3-6?In this bilingual (English/Spanish) tale, Prietita seeks a remedy for her mother's illness. Do?a Lola, the curandera or healer, sends her in search of the rue plant, but Prietita gets lost in the woods. She appeals to the various animals (deer, salamander, dove) that she meets for help, but in vain. Then La Llorona appears and guides the girl to the plant and out of the woods. La Llorona, the "Crying Woman," is traditionally a bogey: frightening, unredeemable, she lures children away from their families and disappears with them. Anzaldua's story, though, casts her as a helpful, benign figure. A source note explains the reason for this change. Whether readers can accept this version or not, this tale provides a fascinating context in which to introduce and discuss folktales. The well-written English text includes a number of Spanish terms. Gonzalez's lovely folk paintings, awash in bright colors, authentically portray the people and native plants and animals of this South Texas locale. Prietita was also featured in Anzaldua's Friends from the Other Side/Amigos del Otro Lado (Children's Book Pr., 1993).?Marilyn Taniguchi, Santa Monica Public Library, CA
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Kirkus Reviews

Anzaldúa (Friends from the Other Side, 1993, etc.) offers a feminist interpretation of the familiar Mexican legend of la Llorona, the sobbing ghost woman who steals children at night. Night has already fallen when Prietita, lost in the Texas woods while seeking the plant that will cure her mother, hears a woman crying. In spite of her grandmother's frightening stories about the ghost woman, Prietita forces herself to go to her, and in the process discovers that ghosts--and probably people, too--aren't always what others think. The ghost woman benevolently guides Prietita to the right plant and then out of the woods. The text appears in both Spanish and English; dramatic illustrations with the bold forms of mural art completely fill each spread, laden with southwestern flora and Mexican motifs. (Picture book. 4-9) -- Copyright ©1996, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 6 and up
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Children's Book Press (June 16, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0892391367
  • ISBN-13: 978-0892391363
  • Product Dimensions: 9.8 x 9 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,340,438 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
"Prietita and the Ghost Woman" is a re-imagined and re-telling of the original story of La Llorona, the Weeping Ghost Woman, widely known in Mexican/Chicana/o folklore. The original Mexican tale involves a young woman weeping over the children she drowned after committing an act of vengeance over her unfaithful husband. The story is usually meant to frighten, especially children. However, Anzaldua recasts La Llorona as an uplifting spiritual guide helping Prietita, the leading protagonist of this story, on a special journey.

One day, Prietita is summoned by her younger sister to seek help after their mother falls ill. Prietita seeks the help of a curandera-a healer, who asks Prietita to seek a rue plant found in "King Ranch," which is surrounded by barbed wire and promises that trespassers will be shot. While proving not only a challenging but also dangerous task, Prietita finds the courage to seek the plant in this dangerous territory in order to save her mother. Through her journey inside the King Ranch, Prietita becomes lost and seeks the help of several animals. After almost losing hope in this frightening territory, La Llorona appears as a glowing light helping Prietita find the rue plant.

The incorporation of animals, guiding spirits, and brave young Chicanitas are common elements making "Prietita and the Ghost Woman" a signature work for Anzaldua, who has used these special elements in her work of fiction and poetry. The writing is simple but filled with specific descriptions of each of the narrative's scene that readers may even imagine the story for themselves without the illustrations.

However, the artwork by Christina Gonzalez is spectacular in that she uses many dark and light colors beside intricate patterns in the portraits unfolding the narrative.
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Format: Paperback
Prietita and the Ghost Woman, written by Gloria Anzaldúa and illustrated by Christina Gonzalez, presents a feminist adaptation of the Hispanic legend by featuring strong, female protagonists, and portraying La Llorona as a benevolent spirit, rather than a haunting ghost. The female relationships in the story are loving and respectful, and women of all different ages look out for each other in a lovely constellation of female alliances.

The story is written in English with a Spanish translation on each page, as well as Spanish words peppered throughout the English text. When interspersing Spanish words, Anzaldúa has taken care to provide translations or context clues for English-language readers. For example, when Prietita asks Doña Lola for help, Doña Lola replies, “I’m sorry, mijita, I’m sorry, my child, but I’ve used up all the ruda I had and none of the neighbors grow it.” To complement Anzaldúa’s text, illustrator Maya Christina Gonzalez has created dramatic illustrations reminiscent of mural art. According to Lee and Low books Gonzalez “is a widely exhibited artist renowned for her vivid imagery of strong women and girls.” Additionally, Kirkus Reviews notes that this book’s illustrations “completely fill each spread, laden with southwestern flora and Mexican motifs.” Indeed, the reader can spot an array of cultural and geographical hints, including large cacti, red chili peppers hanging from the wall, and little lizards scampering across the dry, forest floor. The illustrations also evoke an element of the imaginary or the fantastical, as they take the reader through a young girl’s dream-like journey of growth and self-development.
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If you're a Gloria Anzaldua fan, I don't have any doubt you will enjoy the book. It gives the La Llorona urban legend a different light, which may turn off many readers. It is not a scary tale, which is what most look for when it comes to the legend, but it is still a good read.
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This is a wonderful bilingual children's book that all can enjoy!
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