illustrator: Janice Lee Porter
Lerner / Millbrook, 2008
In this adaptation of the Llorona tale, a young girl named Maria grows up wanting riches and life in a grand hacienda, rather than being satisfied with what she has. Nothing is good enough for her and when a rich young man visits her mother’s inn, she becomes his “segunda” or secondary woman. He visits periodically and she bears two children, always wondering when he is going to move her and her children to his hacienda. One day he arrives in a grand carriage with the woman he is going to marry. Maria ignores her own children playing on the riverbank and gives in to her rage, blaming everyone who ever came into her life and kept her from her dreams. It starts to storm before she comes to her senses and searches for her children. They are gone. The river rages in the storm and she roams the bank, wailing for her children, forever.
The overriding theme is to be satisfied with what you have; at least don’t blame others for what you can control. Make good decisions. Life ain’t always fair.
Porter’s illustrations are effective, smoothly transitioning from simple drawings to eerie, floating vapors. Lowery and Keep have created a straightforward and simple retelling of the ancient legend. Recommended.
—Judy Zalazar Drummond