Fulcrum Publishing's World series brings folktales and contemporary stories from a variety of cultures and makes them attractive and accessible to readers aged eight and up. (From the Mouth of the Monster Eel was reviewed in Vol.2 No.1 )This year there are two additions to the series:
The Eagle and the Rainbow: Tales from Mexico by Antonio Hernandez Madrigal. Illus by Tomi dePaola. Golden, Co: Fulcrum, 1997. 58 pp. $15.95 HC ISBN 1-55591-317-2
The Eagle and the Rainbow: Timeless Tales from Mexico is a beautiful book, illustrated in vibrant colour by Tomi dePaola.The five stories are legends of five great tribes of Mexico:Tarahumara, Aztec, Tarascan, Mayan, and Huichol. One tale tells of a fatherless boy who overcomes a crippling illness to win the race for manhood. .A..nother is about a girl, marginalized by society because of her muteness, who sav'es the people from a volcano. There is a story about the tragic submission of the Aztecs to the European they believed to be a god, and another about the origin of the rainbow. Sub themes in the stories include courage, greed and responsibility for the environment.
Each legend is followed by a brief overview of the history and current status of the tribe from which it came. A most welcome glossary rounds out the book.
There are no sources listed for the stories, but we are told that the author, Antonio Hernandez Madrigal, grew up listening to the tales told by his great-grandmother, who was a healer and storyteller of the Tarascan tribe.
Closer editing would have eliminated a few minor problems in the text of this book which is, overall, a rich and beautiful introduction to the legends and peoples of Mexico for young children.
The Second Story Review, Vol 2 , No. 2, June 1997