Wealthy landowner Don Rigol practically owns the town. To expand his coffee plantation, he will lay waste the mountain jungle and the secret valley where the ancient breed of Paso Fino horses roams wild. Can best friends Enriquito and Ernestina find a way to save the ponies, ensure justice at a trumped-up trial, and reclaim the mountain for their people? Will they rescue lost Indian treasure guarded by a mighty cayman with a golden chain around his neck?
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Enrique's panoramas and landscapes of his native Cuba have been shown in many museums and galleries. A noted portrait painter, Enrique Flores-Galbis lectures at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. This is his first book.From School Library Journal:
Grade 4–6—In pre-Castro Cuba, wealthy Don Rigol exerts almost total control over his rural town. However, when he lays claim to a mountain that the villagers consider theirs and starts clearing the jungle for his coffee plantation, he encounters unexpected opposition. Ernestina, a classmate of Rigol's spoiled daughter, joins her friend Enriquito in efforts to save the wild horses on the mountain. They soon realize that Rigol's real goal is to locate the gold mentioned in Taino legend. Inspired by visions and fueled by ingenuity and daring, the friends uncover the truth about the boy's family history and Rigol's deceptions. Among the more dramatic moments of their adventures are Enriquito's escape from jail and Ernestina's encounter with a huge cayman guarding the treasure. The story intersperses episodes of magical realism with routine adventure sequences. However, there is never any doubt that the children will manage to foil Don Rigol's plans, a task they accomplish with the help of a number of adults from the village and from Havana. A book for libraries in which there is exceptional interest in stories set in Cuba or tales of eco-triumph.—Kathy Piehl, Minnesota State University, Mankato
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Book Description Roaring Brook Press, 2007. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # M1596431660
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