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When Rosalinda discovers a man has been stealing lemons from her beautiful lemon tree, she turns to La Anciana, the town's wise old woman, for advice on how to handle the situation, but the answer she gets is very different from what she had expected.
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One night young Rosalinda wakes up to a "Wsss--shhh--snap!" outside. She slips out of bed and peers out the front door into the darkness. Way back by the lemon tree, something is moving. It's a man stuffing lemons, her very own lemons, into a cloth sack! To make matters worse, by the end of the week her lemon tree is very sick. As she wanders through the Mexican countryside seeking tree-healing advice, she sees the mysterious Night Man at the mercado--and he is selling her beautiful limones! She summons the help of La Anciana, a wise old woman with gentle eyes, and it is finally she who provides a creative solution. That night, Rosalinda sleeps under her lemon tree, and as she slumbers, "Her tree glowed golden in the night, dripping with lemons as big and round as baby moons." Her tree is magically cured! The next day she hands out the amazingly fat lemons, one by one, giving the very last lemon to the Night Man at the mercado. "Siembra las semillas. Plant the seeds," she tells him as he tilts his head towards his hungry family. "For you and for them." He agrees to do as she says, and Rosalinda's heart is "as full as a lemon moon." This simple tale of human compassion will appeal to young children on many levels. They'll be alarmed about the thief, concerned about the sick tree that makes Rosalinda so sad, relieved to see the tree in full fruit, and happy to see how kind and generous Rosalinda is in the end. (Click to see a sample spread. Text ©1999 by Edith Hope Fine. Illustrations ©1999 by Rene King Moreno, reproduced with permission of Lee & Low Books, Inc.) (Ages 3 and older) --Karin SnelsonFrom Publishers Weekly:
Fine (Fantastic Flight) works a bit of wonder in an understated story with the powerful themes of regeneration and redemption. One night, a horrified Rosalinda spies a man picking all of the fruit from her carefully tended lemon tree. Soon afterward, the leaves begin to turn yellow, and Rosalinda seeks out help. When her grandmother tells her about La Anciana, the Old One, who "walks the countryside helping things grow," the child determines to find her. At the end of a day's search for La Anciana, Rosalinda sees the lemon thief selling her tree's bounty at market, while his wife rocks an infant nearby. At this point La Anciana magically appears: "Perhaps he had a need," she tells Rosalinda, and hands her a branch with directions to bind it onto the lemon tree. A miraculous transformation follows, and a grateful Rosalinda shares her plentiful new crop with her family and neighborsAand even the contrite thief, whom she instructs to plant the seeds. Fine's message is stronger for remaining implicit. Softly punctuated with the hues of the flower-filled Mexican countryside, Moreno's (Fiesta) watercolor and pastel images quietly convey the picturesque setting. Her attention to folkloric details helps bridge the story as it travels between realism and fairy tale. Ages 4-up.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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