Under the Cottonwood Tree

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 15 Jan 2020

Member Reviews

Under the Cottonwood Tree is a beautiful and enchanting story of magic, Latin American mythology and family. The story centers on a family living in New Mexico who must pull together when one of them is cursed by a bruja. The plot is winding and illogical at times, but full of adventure and magic - just what you'd expect from a story based on a dream. The illustrations are vibrant and engaging and really bring the story to life.

Overall, I thought this was a fun and interesting read and I will be considering purchasing it for my library.
Was this review helpful?
Under the Cottonwood Tree is a heartwarming and sorrowful story set in New Mexico. Brothers Amadeo and Carlos with their friend end up picking on an old curandera, a healer woman almost like a witch. She turns Carlos into a calf and most of the other siblings too for the reason that she herself lost her family and sorrow established a house into her heart. The siblings try to undo this, but finding the good in the witch's heart, and all this leads to an adventure that is culturally rich and bilingual. The comic is mostly in English, but has New Mexican Spanish in it too as an extra spice. I love stories like this that use old legends and stories as a base. They enrich storytelling and makes these old legends known for people that aren't of the said culture. The story is interesting and understandable, with lots of feeling in it.

The art looks beautiful and rich in color. The panels flow nicely as does the plot, which makes the comic quite smooth. Perhaps everything happening in a day and how fast the curandera came around was too easy, but otherwise everything works well. The glossary at the back is great, since it makes it easier to understand words you're unfamiliar with. With this comic you get to learn, not only language, but also about culture and the way of life and that's the beauty of it!
Was this review helpful?
Imagine you take it upon yourself to keep your little brother out of trouble and his quest for a golden leaf turns half of the family into animals, literally. This book is full of surprises, The graphics are top notch and allow one's imagination to soar. There are life lessons for children and adults alike as well as a glossary of Spanish terms utilized within the book, An amazing drea, turned into an awesome story.
Was this review helpful?
I absolutely adored this comic. The imagery was beautifully coloured and the storytelling was compelling and amusing.  The combined effect was deeply evocative of Mexican culture in New Mexico for me. I hope these brothers choose to share more of their stories in the future.
Was this review helpful?
A fun read about how the power of love and family can overcome hate, anger, and jealousy. The lore and magic was interesting and the story/characters were engaging. I enjoyed this book and highly recommend it to my fellow readers and librarians!
Was this review helpful?
Wow, this was beautiful! 
This story was so heartwarming and cute. The family dynamic was so realistic and the magic so mesmerising.
The graphics in this were so gorgeous, the colours so beautiful.
I really, really enjoyed this.
Was this review helpful?
This was a cute adventure and I loved the artwork. I love reading stories from other nations, I find them fascinating and interesting. This one did not let me down.
Was this review helpful?
Enjoyed the art style and the family love. However the story dragged a little and feel some things could've been accomplished faster. However, e was twists and the story had depth so this made it up.
Was this review helpful?
Full disclosure: This was provided via Netgalley in return for an honest review. 

I really liked this, the art style was different to a lot of the other graphic novels I’ve read recently, the colours were gorgeous and none of the pages felt too crowded or too busy, which is an easy thing to happen in graphic novels. 
The story itself was one of family, friendships and love told in the style of an old folklore with the set up being that this is a story being told to a group of children. I love the concept of a modern fable as it’s just not something that I’ve seen before. 
It should be noted that there are a lot of Spanish terms thrown into this book that is primarily written in English however there is a glossary in the back if you want to know what they mean and I found that I could gather from context what each thing meant and it didn’t take anything away from my enjoyment of the story (despite the fact that I only speak English), but it is something to be aware of if that’s not something you like. 
Primarily my enjoyment from this came from he inclusion of so much culture, it really made the story seem much more interesting and fulfilling for me and made me want go away and learn more about it.
Was this review helpful?
I received an eARC of this graphic novel through Netgalley, in exchange for my honest review.

The art is beautiful, with lots of details and gorgeous scenery.

It`s a short story about family bonds, friendship and respect, unravelling in a Mexican folklore universe. It follows the story of little Carlos Lucero, who`s trying to find the magic golden leaf (from a children story his mum would tell). In his search his adventuring into the old currandera`s hut, who everyone thinks is an evil witch, and steals a cookie he found on the table. After eating it, Carlos turns into a calf and it`s up to Amadeo, the older brother in charge of looking after him and the rest of his family to find a way to turn him back to normal. An adventure that helps them discover some tales are true and puts them all in danger.

The story comes with a strong message about the ways we`re treating people around us and how it can affect them, and important lessons about love and honesty and how they can save the day. 

It`s a lovely little fable and i think kids would be delighted to read it.
Was this review helpful?
Three boys run through the forest, away from the witch on of them annoyed and stole from. Thinking nothing of it, he eats what he grabbed - and transforms into a calf.

Don't steal from a witch, no matter if she is into healing or into cursing. Period.
This tale is based on a dream, as they say in the foreword, and after the story we find a translation of the Spanglish used. Mostly, the dialogue is in English, but Spanish nameforms and terms are used throghout the book - which I woulnd't even remark upon because after all these years reading manga, that's what I've come to expect from a comic set in a different culture, but I've seen some reviewers less than happy with that.

What I liked most about this are the beautiful autumnal colours used, just look at this gorgeous cover. So I had a few problems when suddenly, at the finale, the art style was abandones to make pictures out of dots, which is an interesting concept but threw me out of the reading flow and I have to admit that I abandoned looking at the pictures because it was hard puzzling out what's happening. It didn't help that my PDF reading programm was constantly crashing, and first I thought it would be another symptom of that, but re-starting didn't help.

Apart from that, the story, the characters, the drawings are solid. This graphic novel just didn't click for me. If you like mexikan folklore, or just want to try something new, give it a shot!

I recieved a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
At a time when children only played outside, without a console or mobile phone, Amadeo went to see his youngest brother, Carlos, be transformed into an animal by the healer of the village he was bothering. But the enchantment will gradually reach all the members of the siblings, who are desperately trying to find a way to cancel the spell ...

This comic is a kind of fable, showing the importance of the family and especially the link that we must with its members even if we bicker from time to time. The message is poetic and strong, very well illustrated by the story developed.

The line used for the characters is not my favorite, but I really liked the scenery, very colorful and warm.

In short, a nice reading! ^^
To find out, go to December 15 in American bookstores.
Was this review helpful?
This story is so beautiful, especially when combined with the stunning art all throughout this graphic novel.  There is something so beautiful about this story and the way it combines elements from folk tales and ideas.  It does a great job adding in Latin American and magical realism elements throughout, representing a culture that does not get a lot of positive representation.  

I love the art in this graphic novel and how rich and fall-like it feels with all the cottonwood trees on most of the pages. This is a graphic novel that I would purchase and read in the fall because it is so beautiful and atmospheric!
Was this review helpful?
Funny and engaging. Although it keeps the erroneous idea that witches are bad, it is a well-crafted story about magic, family and morals. The characters are adorable, for real! The way the story and the scenes developed showed a side I didn't expect: how morals can be included in an entertaining and visually appealing way. My respects to the creators!

Full review to be published on August 15: https://tintanocturna.blogspot.com/2019/08/comic-under-cottonwood-tree-el-susto-de.html
Was this review helpful?
I got this comic as an ARC through Netgalley and the publisher. 

First of all, I must say that I was surprised and delighted to find a comic book that involved not only curanderos and native american mysticism and lore, but also Mexican American representation! Being Hispanic and from the Southwest USA myself, I loved reading this story! The bits of Spanish were just enough that I could understand and feel at home with the characters. I come from a large family so it was easy to relate to Carlos and Amadeo's sibling relationship and with their family and friends as well. This modern take on the curanderos and the importance of family, even with changes that occur in life, made me appreciate what I do have now and hope to pass on to future generations within my own family. The colors of the comic were vibrant and rich, definitely adding to the atmosphere and intent the comic aimed to share with the reader. The ending makes me think there may be more to this family and their friends so I hope to see more about them and their experiences with the supernatural and the power of love. I look forward to reading more comics like this with Mexican heritage and traditions influences and wish all the best for the author and illustrator. Good job!
Was this review helpful?
I can't say as I really got that much out of this graphic novel, I liked the premise and I like the way the story starts out as a kind of folk tale being told aloud within a more realistic world, but I think the way the idea of the story was handled wasn't very satisfying for me, and I didn't really feel like I learnt anything about the characters throughout the story much. It was still fun to read though, and I liked the inclusion of Spanish words and phrases, and the art is really beautiful so I'm glad I read it.
Was this review helpful?
Absolutely beautiful illustrations, and an interesting story based on the South American literary tradition of Magical realism. A dreamlike graphic novel about two brothers and their strange adventure - certainly worth reading and wonderful to look at.
Was this review helpful?
Thank you Netgalley for granting my wish for Under the Cottonwood Tree!

A beautifully illustrated and well written tale, full of fun, family spirit, adventure and magic! 

Under the Cottonwood Tree is a magical little tale that follows brothers Amadeo and Carlos on an enchanting adventure to reverse a curse placed on the youngest sibling. 

I thoroughly enjoyed this magical tale and felt swept away to another world on this adventure. A fantastic little read!
Was this review helpful?
Under the Cottonwood Tree: El Susto de la Curandera is a wonderful story about family, magic and kindness, set in a simpler time.

In this new fable, the youngest brother gets turned into a calf because he teased the old curandera again, calling her an old bruja. The trouble expands to the whole family while they try to change him back into a boy. This is easier said than done and the family (and some family friends) have to deal with a whole bunch of magic and revisit old family connections.

The storyline isn't the most logical, but that's because it is based on a dream. That fact completely changed my perception of this graphic novel and made me respect it even more. There are weird details and strange elements but those make this so unique.

The illustrations were gorgeous and I especially liked the scenery. The drawing nicely fitted the atmosphere. This graphic novel also taught me more about the tri-cultural communities of New Mexico and expanded my Spanish vocabulary.

Overall, a nicely illustrated graphic novel with an unusual storyline and a wonderful message.
Was this review helpful?
ARC Copy...flowed like an old folk tale of long ago where magic did exist in particular the magic of family both biological and pure friendship based. I did like the "bad witch" did have a more sympathetic and complex manner/motive to her actions. The lush illustration are also a highlight.
Was this review helpful?