cover image The Lady in the Blue Cloak: Legends of the Texas Missions

The Lady in the Blue Cloak: Legends of the Texas Missions

Eric A. Kimmel, , illus. by Susan Guevara. . Holiday, $16.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-8234-1738-4

Kimmel (Gershon's Monster ) delves into a lesser-known topic—the lore of the beginnings of Spanish missions in Texas—with this unusual and compelling collection. Beginning with the title figure, a mysterious woman who, in the late 1600s, appeared to the Tejas Indians near the mission now known as San Francisco de los Tejas, the author explores the origins of several missions, which rose for both reasons of religious faith and practice, and as protection against encroaching enemies as the New World expanded. The entries here contain various elements, including saintly biographies and ghost stories that depict faithful obedience as well as the motivating power of romantic love. As an example, a young carpenter leaves his betrothed behind in Spain to work on a mission church in Texas; when he learns that his beloved has died, he works through his grief by throwing himself into his project (which becomes Rosa's Window at the Mission of San José and San Miguel de Aguayo). Once readers discover the significance of these sites, they may be inspired to visit them. Guevera (Chato and the Party Animals ) provides an opener to each legend with her elegant full-page oil paintings evocative of the symbols and themes of the era. Ages 6-10. (Oct.)