Reviews for Red Ridin' in the Hood : And Other Cuentos


Booklist Reviews 2005 March #2
/*Starred Review*/ Gr. 3-5. The fractured fairy tale gets cool Latino flavor in this lively collection of 11 fresh retellings, with witty reversals of class and gender roles and powerful, full-page pictures that set the drama in venues ranging from the desert and the barrio to a skyscraper. The old scary demons, such as the witch in the forest, are in evidence, but there's also a Sleeping Beauty story told about a hurt, angry orphan witch who gets revenge for not being invited to a spoiled, rich girl's quinceacera. In "Emperador's New Clothes," Emperador runs the high-school scene. His perfectly gelled, spiky hair makes him look as if he just popped out of a teen magazine. Then Veronica tricks him into appearing at the assembly in his underpants. Unfortunately, some messages are much too heavily spelled out: Beauty teaches Beast not only about the revolution but also about the meaning of fear and true ugliness; Jack finds his dream not in the sky but in hard work. But the lively, fast-paced retellings, the Spanish idiom (there's a glossary at the back), and the dynamic, full-page pictures, several per story, make this great for storytelling collections. ((Reviewed March 15, 2005)) Copyright 2005 Booklist Reviews.

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Horn Book Guide Reviews 2005 Fall
Transport a batch of familiar stories to the American Southwest, spice them with its wildlife plus a sprinkle of Spanish, and stir in some contemporary mores and concerns; add dollops of humor, and season with wisdom and compassion. Yield: eleven tales distinguished by rich humanity. This delightful debut is nicely enhanced by Brazilian illustrator Alarcão's satirical, vividly detailed drawings. Glos. Copyright 2005 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

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Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2005 #3
Translate a batch of familiar stories to the American Southwest, spice them with its wildlife plus a sprinkle of Spanish, and stir in some contemporary mores and concerns; add dollops of humor, and season with wisdom and compassion. Yield: eleven tales distinguished by unusually rich humanity and details. Settings range from the desert to the urban hood where "Roja" is picked up on Forest Street by "Lobo" in "a glossy brown low-rider Chevy with licks of flame painted on the hood," salsa blaring. The unfazed Roja and her abuelita deliver Lobo to the cops ("take my nightgown off that wolf. He's getting hair all over it") and get to keep Lobo's fine car in return. Gabriela (Gretel), too, is notably feisty: she tempts the wicked viejita with a spicy recipe for boy, urges her to make the fire hotter, then -- oven door sealed -- prays for forgiveness with a faith as natural as breathing. "Blanca Nieves" is rescued by seven "vaqueritos" (little cowboys), while the "Piper of Harmon'a" lures hordes of lizards into a desert chasm. In "Belleza y La Bestia," the offstage conflict between Emperor Maximilian and revolutionary leader Ju‡rez deepens the plot, while "The Three Chicharrones" (pork rinds, says the useful glossary) outwit lupine real estate chicanery, then partner to build sturdy "Residencias Chicharrones...homes for those just starting out in life." Nicely enhanced by Brazilian illustrator Alarc‹o's satirical, vividly detailed full-page drawings, this is a delightful debut. Copyright 2005 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.

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Kirkus Reviews 2005 May #1
Despite its silly (and arguably insulting) title, Marcantonio's first collection exhibits a strong grasp on narrative and deft, if sometimes stereotypical, characterizations. These 11 traditional fairy tales, recast with Latino personae and often featuring Catholic overtones, range from the modern barrio (hence the title) to Maximilian and Carlota's Mexico to the days of the Aztec. The most successful is "Belleza y La Bestia" ("Beauty and the Beast"), told by the beast himself as his beauty, a supporter of Benito Juárez, teaches him to care for others. While too many of the tales have obviously didactic endings and Marcantonio's writing is more pop than distinguished, the narrative skill and the over-the-top attitude will appeal to readers ready for fractured fairy tales longer than The Stinky Cheese Man and the like. (glossary) (Fairytale. 4-7) Copyright Kirkus 2005 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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Library Media Connection - February 2006
Imagine childhood's favorite stories, Beauty and the Beast, Snow White, Hansel and Gretel with Hispanic characters in a Hispanic setting with Spanish words scattered throughout and you have the flavor of this delightful foray into fairy tales with a twist. Red takes the forbidden Barrio Forest Street to visit Abuelita, encounters Lobo Chavez, and is not fooled for a second, and chokes him with goat cheese while running for the police. Belleza y la Bestia is told in Beast's voice and is set in the Mexico of Benito Juarez. An ultra-vain Emprador Gomez, the hottest dresser at Zapata High is brought down in his boxers. This great romp through eleven old classics, assisted by a Spanish glossary, is sturdily bound on glossy stock with attractive b&w full-page illustrations. Recommended. Mary R. Hofmann, Library Media Teacher, Rivera Middle School, Merced, California © 2006 Linworth Publishing, Inc.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2005 May #2
A handful of titles round up collections of folklore, nursery rhymes and pourquoi tales. Red Ridin' in the Hood: And Other Cuentos by Patricia Santos Marcantonio, illus. by Renato Alarcao, puts a Latin spin on 11 classics, including "Blanca Nieves and the Seven Vacqueritos" (Snow White and the Seven Dwarves) and "El Dia de los Muertos," a retelling of Orpheus and Eurydice, in which Nochehuatl, the Aztec feather-maker, is cast in the male role. Alarcao's textured half-tone illustrations play up the drama of each tale. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

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School Library Journal Reviews 2005 April
Gr 2-5-These retellings of classic European folktales with a modern Latino twist are only half-realized, and fall sadly flat. From "Blanca Nieves and the Seven Vaqueritos" to "Juan and the Pinto Bean Stalk" to "Belleza y La Bestia," readers will find leaden prose, obvious and didactically stated morals, and narratives that have no tension, but move like a report of a plot that all readers know. The "cultural twist" affects the names, the food, and the setting. The characters say "se-or" and "adios," but there is nothing "Latino" about the retellings-and none of the import or flavor of the originals. Two exceptions are "The Three Chicharrones," which poses the wolf as land-grabbing developer Dinero Martinez, and "The Sleeping Beauty," in which the princess is a snob and the witch is a misunderstood young lady who wins handsome Pepe's heart. Yet though these exhibit an inventiveness with the story, their language is similarly drab. Alarcao's comical and fanciful illustrations are wasted here. If one must have a Latino version of one of these folktales (and what exactly is the point? It's not as if the various Latino cultures have no rich oral traditions of their own), try Bobbi Salinas's The Three Pigs: Nacho, Tito, and Miguel (Pinata, 1998), which has a storyteller's sensibility.-Nina Lindsay, Oakland Public Library, CA Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

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VOYA Reviews 2005 June
The classic fairy tales and myths in this collection are retold from a Latin perspective. Included are contemporary tales such as the title story, in which Red walks down Forest Street in the barrio, and Juan and the Pinto Bean Stalk, in which Juan sells an old white station wagon called La Vaca for some magic pinto beans. Other stories incorporate less-modern settings such as the Ancient Aztec retelling of the Greek Orpheus myth, El Dia de los Muertos. The author includes a glossary of Spanish words and phrases, as well as a pronunciation guide to those names borrowed from Aztec legend. Most of these slightly fractured fairy tales are retellings, not reinterpretations, maintaining the message and morality of the original tales. Belleza still falls in love with her Beast but makes certain to educate him about the freedom fighters in Mexico. The author uses unique styles, settings, and perspectives for each tale, fitting each to the mood. The illustrations integrate seamlessly, from the desperate hunger in the eyes of peasants to the sleazy, used-car salesman persuading that slacker Juan. Although there are great moments of humor, such as Red (Roja) riding off with her grandmother in the wolf's Chevy low-rider, this collection does not differ greatly from other anthologies of fractured fairy tales or contribute anything new to the genre. This book is recommended but by no means required for most public and school libraries.-Angela Semifero Glossary. Illus. 3Q 3P M Copyright 2005 Voya Reviews.

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