Cover image for Erandi's braids
Erandi's braids
Madrigal, Antonio Hernandez.
Publication Information:
New York : Putnam's, 1999.
Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 26 cm
In a poor Mexican village, Erandi surprises her mother by offering to sell her long, beautiful hair in order to raise enough money to buy a new fishing net.
Reading Level:
AD 500 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 3.5 0.5 34567.

Reading Counts RC K-2 4.5 2 Quiz: 21351 Guided reading level: M.
Geographic Term:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Juvenile Fiction Picture Books

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Erandi is excited. Tomorrow is her birthday, and Mama has promised her a present. But tomorrow brings unexpected worries. Their fishing net is full of holes and beyond repair. Suddenly Mama needs money to buy a new one. Erandi knows that the hair buyers have come up from the city to buy the beautiful thick black braids of the village women. Is Mama going to sell Erandi's braids?Antonio Hernandez Madrigal draws upon a past custom of buying the hair of the Tarascan women of Mexico in this tender story of a little girl's selflessness. This is his first picture book.Tomie dePaola's exquisite illustrations capture the vivid colors of Patzcuarro and the lovely faces of the Tarascan people.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Ages 4^-8. Set in the Tarascan Indian village of Patzcuaro in the hills of Mexico in the 1950s, this is a touching story with the tenderness of O. Henry's "Gift of the Magi." It is all the more moving because it is grounded in the harsh reality of the times, when poverty drove many of the Tarascan women to sell their long, beautiful hair to the city buyers. The third-person story is told from the viewpoint of Erandi, whose thick, waist-long braids are her mother's pride and joy. When they have no money for a new fishing net, Mam takes Erandi to the barber, where they stand in line with the other women. Erandi cannot bear the thought of losing her braid, and when it is finally their turn, she is enormously relieved because Mam is selling her own hair. Except Mam 's hair is too short for the barber to sell. He wants to buy Erandi's braids, and the child insists that he cut them. DePaolo's paintings, with their clear outlines and bright shades of orange and turquoise, create a strong sense of the place and the people, their daily village work, their loving family bonds. When the braids are gone, the close focus on the child's face and on her mother's tears reveal the nakedness of their sorrow and the strength of their love. --Hazel Rochman

Publisher's Weekly Review

Erandi, a Mexican girl, looks forward to her birthday and a forthcoming village fiesta with great anticipationÄafter all, she hopes to have a new dress to wear. But Erandi's dreams of pretty things are soon interrupted. Mam 's fishing net, with which she catches their food, is too torn to repair and there is not enough money to buy a new net as well as a dress. Erandi receives her new frock, but afterward, she and Mam  head for the barber shop. Erandi is terrified that Mam  will sell Erandi's beautiful long braids to the hair buyers from the city, but it is Mam  who steps into the chair. When the barber tells Mam  that her hair is not long enough, Erandi summons her courage and offers her own tresses, earning enough money for a fishing net and another special birthday present. Madrigal (The Eagle and the Rainbow: Timeless Stories of M‚xico) creates a vivid portrait of life in the hilly village of P tzcuaro, Mexico, 50 years ago and sprinkles his text with a few basic Spanish words (huipil, tortillas, hija) easily deciphered by their context (though a glossary is included). DePaola's creamy gouache paintings in muted colors give this story of self-sacrifice and family love a sunny warmth. Such details as traditional Mexican architecture, pottery and clothing further define the time and place. Ages 4-8. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

K-Gr 3‘Set in the Mexican village of Pátzcuaro, this is the story of a young girl's selflessness and her mother's tenderness. Excited about her birthday, Erandi hopes for a present, but when her mother worries that their fishing net is worn out, the girl fears that they will not be able to afford a gift. The next day, however, the purchase of a yellow dress sets her heart at ease‘until her mother takes her to the barber shop where the braids of the local women are cut off and sold to merchants from the city. There, Erandi fears that her mother will sell her braids, but in the end the child makes her own decision. According to an author's note, this story draws on the practice of the Tarascan women of the Michoacán province of selling their hair for use in making false eyelashes, wigs, and fine embroidery during the 1940s and `50s. While the idea of making sacrifices for the people one loves is universal, the context into which the tale is set makes the whole seem a bit labored. Bordering on the didactic, it is saved by dePaola's signature paintings, which use earth tones and blues to bring the village and the characters to life. Perhaps best used as support for social studies units on Latin America, this tale serves to point out the human ties that cross cultural lines.‘Ann Welton, Terminal Park Elementary School, Auburn, WA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.