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The Colorful World of Latino Folktales

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Rain Player

Wisniewski, David.  1991.  Rain Player.  New York: Clarion Books.

Summary:  To bring rain to his thirsty village, Pik challenges the rain god to a game of pok-a-tok (Verso 1991).
Type: Pourquoi - because the story explains why we have rain.
Characters: Chac, the god of rain is very demanding, egotistical, fair, and in the end, compassionate.  Pik is the main character who challenges the god to a game of Pok-a-Tok to help his village get rain. Pik is very brave.
Setting:  This story does not reference the time or place, but the illustrations and the culture of people represent the Indian's of Mexico.  The illustrations show beautiful Quetzal birds, tropical jungles, mountains with volcanoes, jaguars, and the Mayan temples. 
Plot:  The people were going through a serious drought when Pik wondered why the gods tormented them.  His tongue angered the rain god, Chac.  Pik challenged him to a game of Pok-a-Tok in order to earn his forgiveness and get rain for his people.  In the end, Pik won and Chac came through with rain. 
Theme:  Trust your instincts about your abilities.

Rating: 3 out of 5
This story was very interesting about a regular person challenging a god to a game.  The most exciting part of the story were the illustrations.  The were almost 3-dimensional.  According to the author's note in the back of the book, the "pictures were first drawn on layout paper in pencil, then drawn more tightly with a technical pen on tracing paper.  These were transferred to the back of colored papers with carbon paper and...attached to double-stick photo mountings and foam tape.  The finished artwork was then photographed, with each piece lit to provide the most dramatic shadows" (Wisniewski, author's page).

Additional Feature:


Here are some quotes from my students:
"The pictures are very cool."
"I like the story, it was full of adventure."
"The colors are very vivid and sometimes dark and scary."
"I didn't like it because it was pointless."

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