Southwestern fare from Joe Hayes

Southwestern fare from Joe Hayes

That's not Fair; Earth Friendly Tales
The Wise Little Burro; Holiday Tales From Near and Far
La LLorona The Weeping Woman
Watch out for Clever Women; Cuidado can las Mujeres Astutas!

Reviewing Joe Hayes' book Here Comes the Storyteller for the last issue of The SSR (Vol. 3 No.2. 1997) piqued my interest in other books by this teller from the Southwestern U.S. I contacted the publisher, and they kindly sent me four of Joe's other books, and now I'm hooked.

Order all of these books from Cinco Puntos Press, 2709 Louisville, EI Paso, Texas 79930. (915) 566-9072.

That's not Fair; Earth Friendly Tales. illus. by Lucy Jelinek. Santa Fe: Trails West Publishing, 1991. ISBN 0-939729- 21-0 Does not all seem to be available on the website as of 2014 but is available from

The four folktales and one tall tale which comprise this collection are used to illustrate such topics as disposable products, recycling, and being gentle to the earth. Each is introduced with a few sentences which set the theme and ask a thought provoking question of the reader. The print is large enough to make the book appealing to students who may be looking for stories to augment environmental projects, and the stories will be a welcome addition to the repertoires of tellers and teachers.

The Wise Little Burro; Holiday Tales From Near and Far. Illus. by Lucy Jelinek. Santa Fe: Trails West Publishing, 1991. ISBN 0-939729-20-2 paper, $7.95 38 pp.
Among these seven stories is a Coyote tale which would be told by Native Americans in the winter storytelling season; The Tailor's New Coat adapted to become a story which leads the listener through the seasons from one Chanukah to the next; a tall tale; and a variant of talking animals on Christmas Eve set in the southwest.
There are few surprises for the seasoned teller, but beginners will find this well-rounded collection a boon for program planning, and families and young readers will welcome it as well.

La LLorona The Weeping Woman. Illus. by Vicki Trego Hill. El Paso, TX: Cinco Puntos Press, 1987. ISBN 0-938317-02-4 paper, $4.95, unpaged.
This classic Hispanic legend is told here in Spanish and English. Growing up in the north as I did, I never ran into this story as a child, but I know it would have sent chills down my spine. A cautionary tale, it tells the tragic story of a woman who grows jealous of her husband's attention to their children. When he ignores her completely, she throws the children into the river, only to be overcome with grief at what she has done. Her ghost, weeping as it searches the riverbanks for her children, is called La Llorona, the weeping woman. Joe achieves the balance necessary in telling such a tale for children, and the illustrations by Vicki Trego Hill support the eeriness of the tale. A companion read-along audio cassette of Hayes telling the story in Spanish and English is also available from the publisher.

Watch out for Clever Women; Cuidado can las Mujeres Astutas!
illus. by Vicki Trego Hill. EI Paso, TX: Cinco Puntos Press, 1994. ISBN 0-938317-20-2 paper, $10.95, 77 pp.

Hayes tells these Hispanic folktales in Spanish and English as well. As he points out, Hispanic tales are of European origin, coming as they did, from Spain to Mexico and then north with Spanish colonists into the southwestern U.S. because of this, tellers will surely recognize some of the stories as variants of other familiar tales. The difference in these stories is that the resourceful character is always a woman. 'That a woman is the clever one in the Hispanic variants," says Hayes, "reveals something about the attitude toward women and a great deal about the sense of humor. People the world over tell stories of a humble individual tricking an overbearing person of higher status, but the idea is especially cherished in Hispanic storylore. Making the trickster a vvoman, who would traditionally be thought of as less powerful than a man, adds spice to the trick. Spicy indeed, and, like all of Joe's stories, eminently tellable. The style of all of the books is clean and spare allowing reader or teller to enter the story easily. The bilingual books are well-designed, with equal weight given to each language so that readers of either language will feel equally at home.

The Second Story Review, Vol 3, No. 2, June 1998
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