Halloween is just around the corner, and celebrations of every kind are now held for the youngest of kids and the oldest of adults.
For the season, A Storyteller’s Nightmare — La Pesadilla De Un Cuentero, by Arturo Munoz Vasquez with illustrations by Sonya Fe, is written in both Spanish and English and is well worth adding to your book collection.
Vasquez, a lifelong educator, and Fe, an esteemed artist, have created a book that is a wonderful retelling of legends deeply rooted in Mexican folklore and indigenous culture.
The compelling illustrations by Fe alone are sure to cause you to look away but will also force you to take another curious peek, which will then draw you in for a long-studied look that could very well enter your subconscious and cause a nightmare.
Indigenous Mexican and US Native American Indian culture embraces the spirit world and its existence as naturally as what we know as the reality of the physical world, with the belief that death is an extension of life not to be feared and our ancestors in the spirit world should always be remembered.
At the same time, Mexican culture also passes down frightening stories generation to generation that are told to children. Some of these stories are retold, along with others, with a bit of a lighthearted spin in A Storyteller’s Nightmare. Vasquez also includes literacy activities for grades 6-9 at the back of the book.
In traditional Mexican households, children may be told, “Don’t go outside when it’s dark or El Cucuy will get you!” “Don’t go near the river when you’re alone or a la Llorona will mistake you for her child and will drown you!”
In Mexico, with the tradition carried on into the United States, these scary stories and legends are told to children, some would say, as a means to instill good behavior, a warning to be aware of bad people and to maintain good values. Others, however, believe there is truth to these old legends and claim they have seen and have heard the weeping woman La Llorona roaming the edges of bodies of water, and believe the hauntings included in this book still occur.
Wherever you stand on the validity of these stories, in this book Vasquez has cleverly created the character agent Homer Delgado, which takes the edge off just a bit for school-aged readers to explore the legends. Agent Delgado is part of a secret international commission organized to investigate reported encounters and unexplainable events in the spirit world.
Agent Delgado investigates the legend that is hundreds of years old from Jalisco, Mexico, “Los Nahuales,” cats with human faces and feline teeth that have sad faces and steal people’s dreams. Agent Delgado is also assigned to investigate “El Cucuy” — he is believed to be part human and part beast and can attack you at night. And Agent Delgado explores “The Ghost Pueblo” after hearing that the people in a New Mexico’s pueblo were disappearing, vanishing into thin air.
Vasquez also writes the tale of The Macho Man Test and The Tour of the Cuco Ward on the streets of East LA
A Storyteller’s Nightmare – La Pesadilla De Un Cuentero is much more than listening for a bump in the night. It is a book treasure that is perfectly suited for Halloween, the classroom, an art collection, or to keep your children in line.
“A Storyteller’s Nightmare” is published by Vasquetzal Publishing www.vasquetzal.com and can be found on amazon.com, AbeBooks.com