Perla Garcia and the Mystery of La Llorona, The Weeping Woman | Dedicated Review
Written by Rodolfo Alvarado
Illustrated by Peter Nowakowski
Age Range: Emerging readers 6 years and up
Paperback: 32 pages
Publisher: Lighting Source, Incorporated and Caballo Press of Ann Arbor (August 1, 2015)
What to expect: Bilingual text, Adventure, Intrigue, Compelling narrative
Written with a strong narrative drive, and featuring a compelling female protagonist, Perla Garcia and the Mystery of La Llorona, The Weeping Woman, is also a very well-crafted bilingual text that will introduce children to Spanish vocabulary and idioms. Set in western Texas, the tale follows Perla and her dog Valiente (or, “brave,” in English) who like to solve mysteries together. The mystery they set out to solve on this occasion is a rather dark one, centered on a local legend.
The titular mystery of La Llorona, the “weeping woman,” concerns the legend of a young mother who lost her babies in a river and who can be heard at night weeping and wandering along the river bank, purportedly snatching away young children to repeat the loss of her own in the river’s waters. Although dark, the overall effect of the tale is an intelligent eeriness that moves beyond simple scare tactics. It is this well-crafted tone that draws readers so skillfully into the macabre tale. In the end, the mystery is solved, and all of the eeriness proves to be one big misunderstanding. But the ending is more than just a mere twist and the story provides several important lessons. Readers will empathize with the characters in this story. The clues that appear throughout the book not only create suspense, but also teach reasoning, and close-reading skills. The use of Spanish throughout the story is done adroitly (but not heavy-handedly) and is likely to be truly effective in teaching (or reinforcing) the reader’s connection to the Spanish language.
As an educational text, the bilingual Perla Garcia mystery series is perfect for emerging readers, and excellent for those who want a Spanish-English text. Roberto Alvarado writes a compelling tale, and the acquisition of vocabulary is actually a part of solving the case—making learning fun and effective. Peter Nowakowski’s illustrations offer a true companion to the text. The charcoal sketches enhance the mood while also serving, at key moments, to lighten the tone of the story. There’s no mystery about it—the Perla Garcia tales are terrific books!
For more information, visit: www.perlagarciamysteries.com
About the Author
Dr. Rudolph “Rodolfo” Alvarado is the CEO and Publisher of Caballo Press of Ann Arbor. He’s a father of seven, as well as a grandfather. He holds a Fine Arts Ph. D. and an MFA in Playwriting from Texas Tech University, as well as an MA in History from Eastern Michigan University, where he was a University Fellow and a Parks/King/Chavez Fellow. His work has been published by the University of Michigan Press, Arte Público Press, Michigan State University Press, Texas A&M University Press, and Alpha Books of New York. His biography, The Untold Story of Joe Hernandez: The Voice of Santa Anita won the prestigious Dr. Tony Ryan Book Award. This is his first children’s book.
About the Illustrator
Peter Nowakowski is an Illustrator and graphic designer living in Ypsilanti, Michigan. When he isn’t busy staying up late working on a project, he enjoys spending time with his wife and playing with his two terrific kids. He also insists that he isn’t too old to have fun with a favorite toy of his own – a skateboard. Even when he is having lots of fun, he always make sure to come in before it gets dark. This is his first work of illustrated fiction.
Dedicated Reviews allow authors and illustrators to gain prompt visibility for their work. The author of “Perla Garcia and the Mystery of La Llorona, The Weeping Woman” sponsored this non-biased review. Learn more about getting a book review …