Erandi’s Braidsby Antonio Hernandez Madrigal (Author), Tomie dePaola (Illustrator)
A Mexican Folktale!
In the hills of Mexico, in the village of Patzcuaro, lives a little girl called Erandi. Erandi is excited. Tomorrow is her birthday! Erandi dreams of a lovely yellow dress that she saw at Senora Andrea’s shop. She wants to wear it for the village fiesta. Mama is going to take her there tomorrow.
But she knows not to expect too much. Mama needs money for a new fishing net. Would Mama have enough to buy the new net and buy the dress? Erandi is not so sure.
A loudspeaker blares “Hair! Hair! We pay the best prices for your hair.” Erandi is curious and asks her Mama, “What is that about Mama?” Mama explains that the local barber pays good money for their hair. She tells Erandi that people come from the city to buy their hair. “Why do people want to buy our hair” asks Erandi. “They say it’s the longest and most beautiful hair. They use it to make wigs, eyelashes and fancy embroidery” Mama explains. The announcement gives Mama an idea..
Next day Mama takes Erandi to Senora Andrea’s shop. Right away Erandi spots the beautiful doll at the shop. Mama asks Erandi what she wants for her birthday. Erandi is in a fix. She really wants the doll but she knows she can’t have both the doll and her dress. So she points to the yellow dress instead.
As soon as they leave the shop, Mama announces to Erandi “Now we are going to the barber shop”. Erandi is surprised. She is crest-fallen thinking about the barber’s scissors on her hair. Will here Mama really sell her beautiful long braids?
This is a touching tale of love and sacrifice. The concept of selflessness is not new. However, Madrigal captures this wonderfully in this folktale from Mexico. In his author’s notes, Madrigal explains, that around 19950’s, the Tarascan women used to sell hair routinely for money. Tomie dePaola’s signature art brings life to this story. The earthy hues of browns and blues captures the culture of the superbly.
A strong story of values of love and sacrifice.