Once upon a time, a lion and a lioness lived in a forest at the edge of a field. They think they are better than all their neighbors, even though the other animals—horses, burros, cats, cows and even a goat—aren’t starving like the lions. But the lion has a brilliant idea to end the rumbling in their stomachs: they will invite all their neighbors to a grand fiesta full of music and dancing. And while everyone is dancing, they’ll lure the goat away and push him into a cauldron of boiling water. But the arrogant lion’s plan goes wildly awry when the goat’s suspicious friends help him escape!
An assortment of animals parade through these entertaining tales. In “A Funeral for Nangato,” a village of naive, proverb-quoting mice decide to bury their enemy, the cat Nangato, who deserves a proper funeral because one should “be good to those who treat you badly.” But just because all the mice say Nangato is dead doesn’t mean he is! And in “The Brave Little Ant and El Senor Chivo,” a tiny ant helps an old couple save their garden from a bad-tempered goat who is determined to eat them out of house and home. Even though the ant is small, she still manages to save the vegetables and the day!
Adapted by celebrated author Judith Ortiz Cofer, these Puerto Rican folktales will delight young readers ages 8-12, whether they’re reading alone or with their favorite adult. Available in both English and Spanish, these stories featuring a variety of animals share lessons that will appeal to kids who enjoy animals and storytelling!
Named to the 2012-2013 Tejas Star Reading List
“Pura Belpré-winner Judith Ortiz Cofer presents a bilingual book of Latino folktales about animals. This book is formatted with the English and Spanish versions of the tales on opposite sides rather than on opposing pages of a spread, you simply flip the book over to read the tales in the other language.”—School Library Journal
“The musical blend of Spanish and English prose is lush, and an unforced flight motif frames and illuminates this beautiful story.”—Booklist on If I Could Fly
“[Cofer’s] contemporary teenage voices are candid, funny, weary, and irreverent in these stories about immigrant kids caught between their Puerto Rican families and the pull and push of the American dream.”—Booklist, Starred Review on An Island Like You
“The Caribbean flavor of the tales gives them their color and freshness, but the narratives have universal resonance…”—Horn Book on An Island Like You
“Cofer combines the timeless clarity and moral imperative of folktales with the timely wit of keen social criticism in an absorbing portrait of a smart and compassionate young woman whose coming-of-age saga subtly parallels Puerto Rico’s struggle to retain its cultural identity and natural bounty.”—Booklist, Starred Review on The Meaning of Consuelo
JUDITH ORTIZ COFER, a poet, novelist, and essayist, is the author of numerous award winning books, including An Island Like You: Stories of the Barrio (Orchid Books 1995, Penguin, 1997), recipient of the 1995 Pura Belpré Award, the ALA Best Books for Young Adults and the Horn Book/Fanfare Best Book of the Year List. Silent Dancing: A Partial Remembrance of a Puerto Rican Childhood (Arte Público Press 1991) received a PEN citation, the Martha Albrand Award for non-fiction, and a Pushcart Prize for the essay “More Room.” She is the recipient of the 1999 Paterson Prize for Books for Young People for The Year of Our Revolution. Most recently, she has published a bilingual book for children, ¡A bailar! / Let’s Dance! (Piñata Books, 2011); Animal Jamboree: Latino Folktales /La fiesta de los animals: leyendas latinas (Piñata Books, 2012), a bilingual collection of Puerto Rican folktales for middle readers, and The Poet Upstairs (Piñata Books, 2012), an inspiring picture book that demonstrates how poetry can change the world. She was a long-time professor of English and Creative Writing at the University of Georgia before her death in 2016.
ATOS Interest Level: Lower Grades
Category: Intermediate Reader
ATOS English: 5.2
ATOS Spanish: 5.7
Lexile English: 950L
Lexile Spanish: 890L
Accelerated Reader Quiz #: 156454