The Secret Footprints

by Julia Alvarez and Fabian Negrin

When she was growing up in the Domincan Republic, Julia Alvarez heard many stories... read more

When she was growing up in the Domincan Republic, Julia Alvarez heard many stories about the ciguapas , a secret all-female tribe that lived underwater and was always able to elude human beings because their feet were on backward so they always left tracks going in the oppostie direction. As an adult, Alvarez continued to collect and study ciguapa tales, and has found many variants. The tale she has chosen to retell for children involves Guapa, a curious young ciguapa who can’t resist getting close to humans. Her curiosity almost gets the best of her when she falls smack in the middle of a picnic and, seeing her feet, the humans assume she’s twisted her ankles and send for the doctor. It’s up to Guapa to use her cleverness (and backward feet!) to escape. Richly luminous illustrations aptly portray both the underwater world and the world of human beings. (Ages 3-7)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2001

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