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La Llorona

School Library Journal
"Bilingual storyteller Joe Hayes tells this classic tale, skillfully moving the story along as he alternates Spanish and English lines. 'La Llorona,' probably the best-known folktale in Mexican culture, tells of a proud, beautiful woman whose life ends tragically. Betrayed by her husband, she succumbs to a murderous rage and throws her two young children into the river. Then, racing along the bank in a frantic effort to save them, she stumbles, hits her head and dies. Since that time her ghost has walked the riverbank each night, the story goes, trailing her long white gown and weeping for her children. If she comes across a living child, mothers tell their children, she steals them away with her into the night. Hayes, the visual focus of most of the film, is seated in a sunny, rustic setting in Santa Fe. A Spanish guitar in the background adds ambiance. The cameras keep Hayes close up, but the angles change frequently to complement the rhythm of his story. Blue or sepia-toned illustrations are occasionally inserted to enhance the mood and move the narrative along. The Weeping Woman herself appears only briefly at the end of the story, via the image of her bare feet running along the trail to suggest her eternal fate. Hayes' excellent storytelling, his ability to create characters through voice and gesture, and his accomplished bilingual presentation will captivate children of all ages who love ghost stories."

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