Monday, May 9, 2011

The Tiger and the Rabbit told by Pura Belpre

The Tiger and the Rabbit, by Pura Belpre, is a collection of 18 folktales from the Island of Puerto Rico.  The Tiger and the Rabbit was first published in 1946, and now being published again with illustrations.  In Puerto Rico, it is told that no one ever went to bed without being told bedtime stories.

"The stories in The Tiger and the Rabbit were first told by a library storyteller, Pura Belpre, and many children were introduced to Spanish-American culture through Senor Rabbit, Senor Tiger, as well as Juan Bobo.  They laughed as they recognized the similarities between the African story, "How Mr. Elephant Got a New Hind End" and the Puerto Rican story, "The  Dance of the Animals."

A few of my favorite fables in this book were The Bed and The Gluttonous Wife.  The Bed was about a woman who brought her little boy up under a bed.  But the bed squeeked.  Each time the bed squeeked the little boy cried, "Booh, Booh."  The old woman would say, "Don't cry little boy. It is only the sound fo this old-fashioned bed." When each time the bed squeeked the dog bark, the cat Miaowed, the pig screamed, and the mouse squeaked.  And each time the old woman would say, "Don't cry, it's just an old fashioned bed."  Until the old man came home and laid across the bed.  It squeeked and then broke to the floor.  The woman just sat on the floor and laughed until she shook.

The Gluttonous Wife was about a woman who was hungry all the time.  The husband would go off to work, and she would stay at home and eat.  By the time her husband got home she was again hungry and after she made salad for her husband for dinner she was still hungry.  Finally, the husband said he was going to go to work.  Instead, he snuck under the house and watched his very fat wife eat all day long.  When it was time for him to go home he walked in the door.  The wife said she was very hungry and the husband made her feel guilty about all of the food she had eaten throughout the day.  She swore to never eat without him again.  The two got fat together.

Kay Peterson Parker, the illustrator, used pen and ink to create the few illustrations this book offered.

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