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Children's Books: Tell Me A Cuento/Cuéntame Un Story

As a parent and former elementary school teacher, one of my favorite authors is Joe Hayes. And one of my favorite books is Tell Me A Cuento/Cuéntame Un Story, a collection of four of his most popular tales in both English and Spanish. If you are not familiar with Joe Hayes, he is the author of numerous bilingual folktales for children, and has earned a distinctive reputation as a master storyteller of southwestern tales.

In this 64 page paperback, Joe Hayes encourages children to interact with the stories through his colorful language, and teams up with illustrator Geronimo Garcia to provide vivid illustrations that brighten every page.

4 Stories in English and Spanish

The first tale, Mariposa, Mariposa is the story of the Butterfly who sews herself a fancy new dress and attracts attention from many suitors. Written in pattern so listeners can predict what comes next, it eventually explains why butteflies look and behave the way they do.

The second story, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Oh!, is similar in style to an Irish tale. The elves dance and sing in the forest at night, and when the kind-hearted poor woman helps them with their song, she is rewarded. This makes the rich woman jealous and you can see where this goes. A great story for exploring the common theme of kindness vs. greed and a lovely book for music and art curriculum connections as well.

Next, No Way, José! tells the story of a bossy rooster who wants to sing at the wedding of his Uncle Perico but he gets his handsome beak dirty eating a berry. He tries to tell others what to do but gets the same response from each one. This cumulative tale builds into a chant with each new encounter and allows all students to get involved and build language.

And finally, in The Terrible Tragadabas, we meet Little Bitty, Middle Size, and Great Big, three granddaughters who are sent to the store to buy little cakes and honey, only to find out about the Tragabadas. Reminiscent of the Three Billy Goats Gruff, this story takes a slightly scary turn. Children absolutely love it!

And... a bonus for all you parents and teachers out there. The publisher, Cinco Puntos Press, offers free teaching resources for each of the four stories. To purchase the book, go to www.sunriseimports.net/tellmeacuento.html. To download the accompanying teacher's guide, go to www.cincopuntos.com/teachers_guides.html.

Tell Me A Cuento: Cuentame Un Story
Told by Joe Hayes, Illustrated by Geronimo Garcia
Recommended for 8 years and up

Submitted by:

Sheila Hull-Summers

Sheila Hull-Summers is a former educator and the owner of Sunrise Imports, an e-commerce site specializing in Mexican folk art and other unique handcrafted gifts from Mexico, Central America and the U.S. Visit online at www.sunriseimports.net




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