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Juan Verdades

Publishers Weekly
Hayes's flowing plot, enlivened by several wry twists, is decidedly satisfying. Spanish words and phrases dot the characters' dialogue, enhancing the regional flavor. Fiedler's (The Crystal Heart) spare, earth-toned paintings convey the particulars of the setting from traditional garb to the sprawling landscapes as well as the timelessness of folklore.
Children's Literature
This is a beautifully done picture book...The story is rich and will provide much for young readers to think about, long after the tale is told.
Spanglish Baby
No matter your level in either language, the flow of events and gorgeous paintings hold even a young child’s attention.
In this beautifully illustrated book, a ranchero (Don Ignacio) makes a bet that his capataz – ranch hand – is incapable of telling a lie, which is why he trusts him with his valuable apple tree. A skeptical friend, Don Arturo, tries desperately to cause the capataz, whom they call Juan Verdades, to stray from the truth so that he can win Don Ignacio’s ranch. Complications arise when Don Arturo’s daughter and Juan Verdades fall in love. In the end, the story comes full circle: la verdad reigns and no one loses.
Originally a Spanish tale from the early 20th century, Juan Verdades is retold by Joe Hayes in a way that is easier to follow than traditional folktales. Like other bilingual books, this one has the full English and Spanish prose on each page, making it simple to understand, no matter your level in either language, the flow of events and gorgeous paintings hold even a young child’s attention.
New Mexico Kids!
A book that will be enjoyed in both languages by all ages, especially people who like the challenge of clever riddles.
The title says it all – can a truthful man be made to lie? In a pueblo full of foolish men who enjoy gambling in the village plaza, wealthy ranchero Don Ignacio bets Don Arturo that Juan, his faithful foreman, will never lie. Juan’s real name is Juan Valdez, but everyone calls him Juan Verdades because he has never told a falsehood. Juan is caretaker of Don Ignacio’s fine apple tree, el manzano real, “the royal apple tree,” that produces the sweetest fruit in the countryside. The stakes are high whoever wins gets the other man’s ranch.

Juan has never lied before but his limits will be tested when he begins to fall for the bright and lively Araceli, who wants him to steal the apples so that her father, Don Arturo, wins the bet. Can Araceli get Juan Verdades to lie for the sake of love, or will he continue to be a truthful man?

Joseph Fiedler’s warm paintings make it easy to picture the people, the colorful dress, and the dusty village plaza. Written in both English and Spanish. It is a book that will be enjoyed in both languages by all ages, especially people who like the challenge of clever riddles.

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