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Puerto Vallarta News NetworkVallarta Living | Art Talk 

Whiskers, Tails & Wings: Animal Folktales from Mexico

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November 22, 2013

I'm fascinated with folktales, so I couldn't wait to read Whiskers, Tails & Wings: Animal Folktales from Mexico by Judy Goldman. Goldman takes animal folktales from five indigenous people of Mexico and retells them in a way that makes you feel like you've known the story all your life. What's great about these folktales is that they come from people typically not explored. like the Aztecs and Mayans.

If there's a common theme among the stories it is that the unexpected choice is often the right one for the job. A cricket battles a Puma. A humble sea turtle saves the day. A flea saves humans from themselves. It's a theme often found in folktales, but here there are unexpected twists and turns.

What's great about this book is after each story is a glimpse into the indigenous people and their worlds. Goldman wrote a couple of pages about each culture to help readers understand the people behind the folktales. There are also glossaries to translate unfamiliar Spanish words into English, although the words seem to lose some of their beauty in translation.

Each story begins with a beautiful painting which gives you a glimpse into the story. Fabricio Vanden Broeck created lush, gorgeous paintings that you'd like to rip from the pages and frame for your walls. The detail in each one shows the time he took creating these pieces. The smaller illustrations bring a specific story point to life with rich colors.

Charlesbridge books are great for parents or teachers trying to expand a student's world. On each book's webpage there is information about how a book relates to the new "Common Core" learning standards. There is also information about how the book is beneficial to students.

For Whiskers, Tails & Wings the statement reads, "This book is good for your brain because: it introduces readers to various aspects of world history and the history of cultures around the world, specifically that of Mexico; it incorporates story elements such as setting, plot, and character development, and sequence of events."