Life Around the Lake

Maricel E. Presilla, Author, Women Of Lake Patzcuaro, Illustrator, Women Embroiderers of Lake Patzcuaro, Illustrator Henry Holt & Company $16.95 (32p) ISBN 978-0-8050-3800-2
In a plaintive text that will likely prove ponderous for the average picture book reader, the authors tell the bittersweet story of the Tarascan Indians living along the shores of Lake Patzcuaro in west-central Mexico. Poor drainage and lack of sewage treatment have polluted the lake, rendering its water unsafe to drink and killing the fish that have provided the residents with food and livelihoods. In order to ""honor the past and also make a living today,"" many Tarascan women stitch elaborate embroideries that depict their lakeside life, primarily in brighter, bygone days; samples of this art, reproduced in closely focused photographs, enliven the pages here. Incorporating quotes from the embroiderers and a generous sampling of Spanish words, the narrative interprets the handiwork's bustling scenes: a local fisherman pulls his catch from the sea; artisans weave shawls and baskets, make ceramics and carve wood; and villagers perform a traditional wedding dance and celebrate religious feasts. While this book is similar in concept to Dia's Story Cloth (Children's Forecasts, Apr. 29), it is less personal a work, reading much like a social studies lesson. Ages 7-up. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 04/01/1996
Release date: 04/01/1996
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