Monday, May 6, 2013

Borreguita and the Coyote

Title:  Borreguita and the Coyote
Author:  Retold by Verna Aardema
Illustrator: Petra Mathers
Publisher:  Alfred A. Knopf
Genre: Folk Tale
Level: Primary
Number of Pages: 26
Pub. Date: 1991

Summary: Borreguita, which is defined in the glossary as "little lamb” lives happily on a farm at the foot of a mountain. One day, her master ties her out in a field of red clover. She grazes happily until Coyote comes along and wants to eat her up. Borreguita tricks Coyote into waiting until she's fattened up from grazing, and he agrees to come back later. Upon his return, she tempts him with something tastier than lamb: cheese! This "cheese" turns out to be the reflection of the full moon in the farmer's pond, which the Coyote discovers when he tries to gobble it up and ends up sputtering in the water. Borreguita again tricks Coyote by luring him between 2 rocks on the mountain, claiming that he must hold the mountain up with his legs or else it will fall down. She scampers off. The next day, Coyote insists that the time has come: he will eat Borreguita. She has one final request: he must swallow her whole. He opens his mouth and she runs at him and rams him so hard that all his teeth ache. At last the Coyote has learned his lesson, and Borreguita is never troubled with him again.

Critique: This folk tale has one dimensional characters because the wolf just wants to eat the lamb and the lamb is clever enough to trick him into not eating her. It has an indistinct setting in the mountains on a farm and has a predictable theme where good, the innocent lamb, wins out over the evil wolf. It seems timeless because of these features and tells the adventures of animal characters. It is an example of high quality traditional tale because it keeps the original culture of this Mexican folk tale by including a glossary so the original language can be used and understood by young children who may not speak Spanish. The illustrations of the lamb and the wolf help in interpreting the story, especially the scene where she is tricking him into holding up the mountain.

Response: I made a text-to-text connection with this book, Borreguita and the Coyote. The story
reminds me of the story of the 3 little pigs where the wolf is portrayed as a maniacal creature that just wants to eat innocent animals. In this case it was the lamb who is happily grazing and in the little pig story it’s pigs that are just trying to live their own lives in their houses. I think it’s interesting how the wolf is always the bad guy.

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