Reviews of children's and young adult books old and new

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Watch Out Kids or the Weeping Woman Will Get You

The Weeping Woman: An Hispanic Legend told in Spanish and English by Joe Hayes, illustrated by Vicki Trego Hill & Mona Pennypacker

Maria was very beautiful and she knew it. As she grew up she decided that because she was so beautiful she would only marry the most handsome man in the world. One day a very handsome young ranchero came to her village and she decided he was the one for her. She made him love her and they were married. After a few years they had two children and life seemed good. But when Maria's husband started to ignore her and only pay attention to the children Maria got angry. She heard that he was thinking of leaving her and marrying a rich woman of the upper class. One day he drove by her and the children in his carriage with a fine lady, he talked only to the children and then drove off. Maria was enraged and took her anger out on the children and threw them into the river. The next instant she regretted what she did and cried out to them but they were gone. She spent the night walking up and down the river screaming for her children and in the morning she was dead. The villagers buried her by the river and they say at night you can her her crying for her children and walking the riverbed looking for them.

The introduction to this book warns that it is not a happy tale but I was not expecting it to be so morbid. There is a section at the beginning and end of this book explaining about different stories and legends that have been passed down in Mexico and I really liked the succinct explanation. The story itself is told in Spanish and in English which is great if you are teaching your children one language or the other. The illustrations look like they are done in pencil and have a very earthy feel to them. The story itself is well written but morbid. I do know some kids who would find this story fascinating but I have a hard time recommending it for bedtime reading. I would say that if your child can handle a little ghost story now and then pick it up and it will give you an opportunity to explain about oral traditions and legends. If you child or young reader is easily scared maybe wait on this one until they get a little older.

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