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The Secret Footprints


Publisher:Dragonfly Books



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About the book:

Ciguapas are a secret tribe of beautiful people who live underwater in "cool blue caves hung with seashells and seaweed." Avoiding humans at all costs, they come out to hunt for food only at night. But the most remarkable thing about the ciguapas is that their feet are on backward. Walking on land, their footprints lead in the opposite direction. This helps them keep the secret of their existence from humans, who, they believe, would cage them and force them to "take baths and do laundry and wash your hands before meals." But once upon a time, a brave, bold, bright-eyed--and curious--ciguapa named Guapa almost made real her people's worst fears. Straying too close to a human home one night, Guapa is discovered by a young boy. Escaping, she vows to be more careful. But her curiosity is stronger than her word, and soon she finds herself in the hands of a surprisingly kind human family.

This lovely old legend gently shows readers that preconceptions are often just that--unbased biases that may very well change if the parties in question take a chance to discover the truth about each other. With lyrical grace, novelist, poet, and essayist Julia Alvarez retells this folk story remembered from her childhood in the Dominican Republic. Exquisite, dreamy illustrations by Fabian Negrin, replete with deep-sea blues and jungle greens, carry the reader to a mystical place of warmth and beauty. (Ages 5 to 8) --Emilie Coulter

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