By Judy Goldman, Illustrated by Fabricio Vanden Broeck
Charlesbridge Press, $16.95, 58 pages
Whiskers, Tails and Wings is an excellent children’s book of folktales from Mexico with a lot of potential. It is evident by the beautiful images that the illustrator, Fabricio Vanden Broeck, spent a lot of time thinking about how best to emulate the folktales through imagery. Since this book is a collection of folktales passed on from generation to generation, the author, Judy Goldman cannot be judged for the way the folktales attempt to explain the reasons for different things in nature. However, based on 21st century views of children’s literature, solving your problems by having a war, as was seen in the first story in the book, “When Señor Grillo Met Señor Puma”, is not the way most parents would like to teach their children to solve their problems. Thus not all the stories are meant for a young age group and that is something to keep in mind when purchasing and reading this book to your children.
This aside, the author’s choice to include cultural information after each folktale is very helpful. Putting each story into a cultural context allows both the parent and the reader to really understand why these folktales may have been originally created. This is an excellent book for older children who enjoy learning about other cultures as well as beautiful illustrations.
Reviewed by Andrea Franke