Anaya, Rudolfo. Maya's Children: The Story of La Llorona. Illustrated by Maria Baca. Hyperion, 1997. ISBN 0-7868-2124-8. $14.89. 32 pp. B Pre-3 PB Reviewed by Marisol Wharemate Many children are told “Watch out, or the 'boogie' man will get you.” Latin American children are warned about La Llorona, the weeping woman who is looking for children to replace her lost ones. Maya's Children is a variation of the folktale about La Llorona. In Anaya's book, Maya is born with a birthmark of a shining sun on her shoulder. When the chief priest sees this birthmark, he thinks Maya is a child of the Sun God. This means Maya will live forever; Thus Señor Tiempo, the God of Time, becomes angry because Maya will never age or die. Since Maya will live forever, he decides to take her children from her as revenge. Maya's parents take her to a house by the lake, hoping she will be safe from Señor Tiempo. When Señor Tiempo discovers where Maya is hiding, he goes to her disguised as a wise man. He deceives Maya and takes her children away from her. Maya weeps for her children and goes through town crying “Mis Niños!”(My Children!) The people of Maya's village are afraid that she will try to take their children, so they call them to come inside. Rudolfo Anaya has changed this folktale so that it is not as cruel as the original, but it is still a tragic story. (The original legend claims that La Llorona took the life of her own children, rather than losing them to Señor Tiempo.) Anaya has done a good job of making this book appropriate for younger children. Maya's Children is filled with excellent illustrations, prepared by using gouache. The indigenous style of these illustrations complements the Latin American origins of the folktale. Maya's Children is recommended to those who enjoy reading folktales or picture books. It is an interesting book to introduce young children to Latin American culture.
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