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The Colorful World of Latino Folktales

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Uncle Nacho's Hat

Rohmer, Harriet.  1989.  Uncle Nacho's Hat.  Emeryville, CA: Children's Book Press.

Summary:  A bilingual folk tale from Nicaragua about a well-meaning man who can't figure out how to make changes in his life until his niece, Ambrosia, shows him how (Verso 1989).
Type: Realistic - because it could happen to anyone, anywhere, anytime.
Characters: The main character is Uncle Nacho.  He is polite, determined, a little unsure of himself and his choices, and funny.  His niece, Ambrosia, is compassionate, loving, caring, and helpful.  She teaches her uncle a lesson.
Setting:  The text never mentions any time or place, but the illustrations reveal adobe houses with Spanish tile roof's.  They also show colorful clothes, wicker baskets, parrots, palm trees, and vibrant colors.  All of these illustrations show off the Mexican culture.
Plot: Uncle Nacho's favorite hat is full of holes and useless, but Uncle Nacho just cannot get rid of it.  His niece, Ambrosia, brought him a new hat so he could get rid of the old one.  Every day, Uncle Nacho tried to get rid of it, but it just kept coming back to him.  In the end, Ambrosia told him to focus on the new hat and the old one will go away.
Theme: The moral to this story is to let go of bad habits.  The old hat represents bad habits that are hard to let go of and the new hat represents change.

Rating: 3 out of 5
This story was just okay.  I liked the ending or the moral of the story.  The illustrations were flat and one-dimensional, but the colors were vibrant and they reflect the Mexican culture. 

Additional Feature:

Uncle Nacho's Hat / El sombrero del tío Nacho

Here are some quotes from my students:
"It has bad pictures"
"It was good and entertaining and it taught a moral."
"The illustrations were funny and cute."
"It was childish."
"The illustrations looked like real people."
"This was kind of boring."
"I didn't see a point in the book."
"This story needs better illustrations."
"The story was pointless."
"It was a cheesy story, but I did like the vibrant colors."

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