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The Colorful World of Latino Folktales

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The Sea Serpent's Daughter

Lippert, Margaret H.  1993.  The sea serpent's daughter: A Brazilian legend.  Troll Associates.

Summary:  Relates the traditional Brazilian legend of how the Sea Serpent's gift of darkness to his daughter brings night to the people of the rain forest (Verso 1993). 
Type:  Pourquoi - because it tells us why we have night, the moon, and the stars.
Characters: Bonita, the Sea Serpent's daughter, is lovely, caring, warm, and tender; Chief is the chief of the village who marries Bonita and will do anything for her.  He is compassionate, loving, and powerful. 
Setting:  The story tells us in the first paragraph that it was "long ago" and then the next page, it tells us the village is by the "mighty Amazon" (Lippert, p.1-2).  The illustrations show a beautiful village with grass huts, sandy beaches, palm trees, conches, native peoples, and monkeys.  All of this represents the Brazilian culture.
Plot: The Sea Serpent's daughter, Bonita finds land for the very first time and really likes it.  She meets the chief of a village and they marry.  After a while, she becomes sad because she misses the night and she wants to sleep.  Her husband calls on the villagers to call out to the Sea Serpent and ask for night.  The Sea Serpent sends a bag of night on shore and the village has night and day.  Bonita throws a conche shell up in the sky and that becomes the moon.
Theme: I really didn't find a theme, only a legend of how we received night and the moon.
Rating: 4 out of 5
I really enjoyed this story.  It wasn't too long or too short and the story of how we have nighttime is very interesting.  The colors are beautiful and brilliant.  The culture of Brazil is represented very well from the colors, pictures, and text. 

Additional Feature:
The Sea Serpent's Daughter: A Brazilian Legend (Legends of the World)

Here are some quotes from my students:
"I really liked this story."
"The illustrations are very colorful."
"I like the legend of how we got night."
"Do all Indian cultures tell us how we got something?"

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