cover image My Land Sings: Stories from the Rio Grande

My Land Sings: Stories from the Rio Grande

Rudolfo A. Anaya. Rayo, $17 (144pp) ISBN 978-0-688-15078-5

Haunting characters people Anaya's (The Farolitos of Christmas) collection of 10 tales in the R o Grande valley of New Mexico. He combines five cuentos from Spanish and Native American folklore (previously published in a bilingual volume for adults) with original stories that incorporate inherited themes such as a respect for elders, the dangers of going against traditional mores and traces from an old world Roman Catholicism. In ""Dulcinea,"" for instance, a beautiful, isolated 15-year-old from Llano Estacado sees a handsome stranger on a visit to the village and determines to meet him at a dance. Her father forbids it, saying, ""Dark wind follows the stranger who has come to our village.... The devil rides the whirlwind,"" but she attends anyway, with life-altering results. And in ""The Three Brothers,"" a youngest son is rewarded for his faith, while his two older brothers' selfishness is punished with eternal damnation. Anaya's preface describes sources and variations on his material, as well as the process in which he has used cuentos in his novels. While readers may be familiar with the outlines of ""Lupe and la Llorona"" (the crying woman), ""The Shepherd Who Knew the Language of Animals"" and ""Coyote and Raven,"" a creation tale, these reworkings contain compelling twists that will keep the pages turning. Ages 10-up. (Sept.)