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|Summer of the mariposas|
Author: McCall, Guadalupe Garcia
In an adventure reminiscent of Homer's Odyssey, fifteen-year-old Odilia and her four younger sisters embark on a journey to return a dead man to his family in Mexico, aided by La Llorona, but impeded by a witch, a warlock, chupacabras, and more.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG+
Reading Level: 5.40
Points: 13.0 Quiz: 155462
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 6-8
Reading Level: 5.50
Points: 20.0 Quiz: 59511
Common Core Standards
Grade 7 → Reading → RL Literature → 7.RL Key Ideas & Details
Grade 7 → Reading → RL Literature → 7.RL Range of Reading & LEvel of Text Complexity
Grade 8 → Reading → RL Literature → 8.RL Key Ideas & Details
Grade 8 → Reading → RL Literature → 8.RL Craft & Structure
Grade 8 → Reading → RL Literature → 8.RL Integration of Knowledge & Ideas
Kirkus Reviews (08/15/12)
School Library Journal (00/11/12)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (12/12)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 11/01/2012 Gr 7–9—While swimming in the Rio Grande, the five Garza sisters find a dead man, and, against the better judgment of Odilia, the eldest, decide to return his body to his family in El Sacrificio, Mexico. Their decision is partly altruistic and partly personal, for their paternal grandmother, whom they have rarely seen, lives nearby. Thus begins their journey, guided by supernatural forces, both good and evil, and the ever-present mariposas (butterflies) that guide their way. Succumbing to the false promises of the sorceress Cecelia, the shape-shifting donkey (nagual), and the vampiric chupacabras, they finally reach their destination. Although the man's family does not welcome his corpse, the girls' main purpose is fulfilled, and they reestablish their relationship with their abuela, who helps them return home, wise enough to spurn their rogue-father's false promises and recognize their mother's true love for them. Written in the style of magic realism, this is an enchanting look at Mexican mysticism, coupled with the realistic celebration of the true meaning of family. The sisters' relationships are believably drawn, and the juxtaposition of modern realities and ancient Aztec mythology elucidates the importance of the spiritual side of life in Latin cultures. The plot is well paced, with the illicit nature of the girls' entry into Mexico adding drama to their adventure. While some readers may find the interweaving of the magical elements somewhat unsettling at first, they are sure to be intrigued by both the unusual qualities of the mythical characters and the sense of adventure that lies behind every twist and turn of the girls' revelatory journey. As with McCall's Under the Mesquite (Lee & Low, 2011), this is a peek into Mexican American culture, but its ties to the supernatural add an interesting dimension.Nancy Menaldi-Scanlan, The Naples Players, FL - Copyright 2012 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Bulletin for the Center... - 12/01/2012 When the five Garza sisters discover a dead body floating in their swimming spot in the Rio Grande, oldest sibling Odilia wants to report their finding to the police. She’s quickly outvoted by the younger girls who decide that this is an opportunity to show their estranged father and distracted mother just what heroines the girls can be by returning the dead man to his family in Mexico. Unwilling to break the code of the cinco hermanitas, Odilia accedes, and the sisters’ journey across the Texas border enters fairy-tale territory as they escape witches, warlocks, bloodthirsty chupacabras, and nasty flesh-eating barn owls, all under the watchful eye of la Llorona, who guides the girls safely home. They return, however, to face a trial far less supernatural but just as emotionally devastating—their father has showed up with a new family in tow and a demand that the girls choose between their two parents. While the girls’ bickering gets annoying at times, narrator Odilia is a both endlessly exasperated and fiercely loyal older sister, and responsible siblings everywhere will relate to the feelings of power and resentment that her sense of obligation brings. Loosely based on the Odyssey, the journey adds interest by moving the girls through elements of Mexican folklore, and McCall’s revision of both la Llorona and the chupacabras as victims in need of sympathy and compassion is particularly compelling. The messages about strength of family are at times heavy handed, but the story remains powerful to the end. A glossary of Spanish words is included. KQG - Copyright 2012 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.
School Library Journal - 01/01/2013 Gr 6 Up—This novel more than fulfills the promise of McCall's Under the Mesquite. In Summer of the Mariposas, she audaciously sets out to retell Homer's Odyssey within the context of Latino folklore. Odilia is the oldest of five sisters who have vowed to stay together forever. When they happen upon the body of a drowned man in their swimming hole, they decide to take him back to Mexico to his family, who happen to live nearby their own grandmother. La Llorona appears to Odilia and becomes her mentor and guide. The journey to the girls' grandmother's ranch involves getting across the border with a corpse without being caught by authorities. Then the magical realism kicks in as Odilia and her sisters have to combat various supernatural beings, including a shape-shifting witch and the dreaded Chupacabras, the monster who eats goats. These are just some of the connections, especially with the books of scary short stories mentioned below, that make this book such a rich source of material to introduce children to Latino myths, as well as the Odyssey itself. I love McCall's take on La Llorona, whom she sets out to redeem as a sympathetic mother figure, rather than the scary child kidnapper she is most often made out to be. - Copyright 2013 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.