Cover Image: Under the Cottonwood Tree

Under the Cottonwood Tree

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Member Reviews

| Reader Fox Blog | 

Under the Cottonwood Tree or El Susto de la Curandera by Paul Meyer and Carlos Meyer, illustrated by Margaret Hardy was a fascinating and beautiful tale about a family and how the love they share can overcome any amount of hurt, anger, and hate. Coupled with stunning and exquisitely colored artwork, this is definitely a book worth having on your shelf. I had a lot of fun reading this graphic novel, particularly adoring the strange and exciting, if not somewhat scary, adventure that the children in this family find themselves on.

The story begins with two brothers and a curandera, a word which means healer. When the youngest and most reckless of the two refers to the old woman as a bruja, or a witch, and steals from her. The magical food that he snatched quickly turns him into a young calf and thus the young children of this story find themselves in the troublesome circumstance of trying to figure out how to return the young boy to his natural state.

This story was a lot darker than I really expected it to be, but enjoyable all the same. There's truly a great message behind it and the characters really capture your attention right from the start. The tale, itself, is fantastic as well. As a reader, you definitely find yourself growing more and more invested in the plights of all involved the further you get into the story.

I was especially enamored by the excellent and gorgeous illustrations that filled this graphic novel. I'll be honest, they did a supreme job at selling the book for me. I couldn't turn a single page without admiring every aspect of the wonderful artwork. Not only does it perfectly portray the personalities of each of the characters, it does so often with them turned into animals.

All in all, this is a fantastic graphic novel that everyone should be eager to add to their shelves.

I was provided a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This review will go live on the Reader Fox Blog on June 13, 2020.
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Loved the art and the story. It was humorous and loved the familial aspect of it. The cover is also really good it’s a must read for feel good books
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A cute little story familly and folclore. Had fun reading it would definitly recomend for kids, or adult with a kid soul XD
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I really loved how this book incorporated old and new cultures. It was able to talk about things happening today with modern technology in the beginning and then transformed into more a fairytale -esque story. This is a really great story about family, friendship, forgiveness, and redemption. I loved that it incorporated Spanish and the New Mexcian dialect. There is also a really helpful glossary in the back for those who do not speak Spanish, like myself. This story had a great whimsical feel and fun magical elements. There were also a diverse set of characters that each brought their unique culture to the story.
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An interesting and magical mexican story! It is a well written and nicely illustrated fable. This book will surely make us explore more of mexican and latin folklore.
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I really enjoyed this one, despite the target audience definitely being of a younger ilk. 

A lovely fable in graphic novel form concerning itself with love, loss, and kindness - it also granted insights into cultures I'm not often exposed to being in England. 

The artwork was gorgeous, and the dreamy unique story made it the perfect way to spend a couple of hours.
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I loved the coloring and pace of this story. The family dynamics are true to life and the way it is portrayed endearing. Towards the end you are feeling so much for la curandera and are rooting for a happy ending for all. I love the ease of the Spanish and English language mixing, and that there was a glossary at the back.
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This graphic novel jumps into the action right away.  Three children are running away from what can only be a witch according to the youngest one.  One of the characters gets turned into a cow and the others join this fate as well. This book is fast paced. However, I did get lost here and there. One of the things I value is the glossary/translations for all of the Spanish words throughout the text.  Children ages 8 and older would enjoy this book.
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This was a cute and family friendly story that has a very sweet moral in the end. Its always good to know that everyone is fighting their own battle and sometimes it takes just a little bit of kindness and understanding to defeat the evil in our lives rather than feeding it with more hate and anger. 

I loved the style of art in here, but was kind of confused when it suddenly lost color towards the end, I'm not sure if that's because this is an ARC or if it was supposed to be intentional. Mostly, it was just distracting. But other than that, I thought it was beautifully illustrated and I loved the warm and vibrant colors that radiated off of each page.

I also think that this was great representation of family and hispanic culture. Full of spanglish dialogue there was a very authentic feel to the characters and the story that flowed throughout. I also appreciated the glossary in the end to be able to look up the words that I was not familiar with. 

I really liked this book and think that it will be great for people of all ages and walks of life to enjoy.
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A great graphic 
Fun packed 
Great for children and middle school 
Thanks for this book . This story is really nice love the story building
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I really loved the art style of this novel, it's so vibrant and really brings the story to life - not only this, but I feel like the hand-drawn style of it really added to the story; and was also really nostalgic for me because the art style reminds me of the vintage comics  and the illustrations in books I read when I was young and still have.
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My thanks to North Fourth Publishing for a temporary digital edition via NetGalley of ‘Under the Cottonwood Tree: el susto de la curandera’ written by Paul Meyer and Carlos Meyer with artwork by Margaret Hardy and Jasey Crowl in exchange for an honest review.

This graphic novel is intended for children though I feel that its message is suitable for readers of all ages.

Under the spreading branches of a cottonwood tree an old woman reads to a group of children a fable about a simpler time. In 1949 New Mexico Amadeo and Carlos Lucero with their friend Monree get into trouble when they go deep into the bosque (forest) and taunt an old woman living there calling her a bruja (witch).  They run away from her and seem to have escaped but suddenly Carlos transforms into a black & white calf! In order to restore Carlos to human form they embark upon a magical adventure.

“From a dream to the page” - in the introduction the authors tell of how in 1980 Paul Meyer had an unforgettable dream about a talking calf. His brother Carlos was inspired by the dream and wrote a short story titled: ‘The Calf, the Caterpillar, and the Curandera’. This story has now been adapted as this graphic novel.

The story is enchanting with truly stunning artwork that utilises the rich colour palette of the New Mexican landscape. It is exciting, funny, and heartwarming with an important message about kindness and tolerance.

A number of words and regional phrases from ‘New Mexican Spanish’ occur in the text and a useful glossary is provided after the story. 

I loved it and would highly recommend to parents, teachers, and those interested in the culture and folklore of the Southwestern region.
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I really enjoyed this one. 

The story is a tiny bit trite to grown up readers, but still good, with excellent messages about kindness, forgiveness, loss, and love. I also loved that it was centered around Latino and Native American kids and their culture. 

Where the book really shined for though, was the art and colorwork. The top star and a half I added for that alone. It was amusing to see how all the characters who got turned into animals were still clearly recognizable as themselves, and not just because they kept their hair (which was amusing all on its own). The style was just phenomenal, especially the landscapes. I wanted to pour the colors directly into my eyes, and I actually sat staring at a couple of the full page illustrations for a couple minutes.

All in all, a really neat graphic novel, and I highly recommend it.
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This was an absolutely delightful tale of family, friendship, grief and love that is richly infused with Mexican folklore and culture. I knew I would love this graphic novel the minute I started reading it! This was a very fast-paced read and I easily read it one sitting (mostly because I didn't want to put it down). The personal touches in both the foreword and afterword made me enjoy this more, as reading the history of how this story came to be and the authors' personal connections with their own curanderas showed how much the story meant to them.

I admit that the cover is what initially caught my eye. The story was so beautifully illustrated and it was done in a style that I like to read in comics. The colour palette was also perfect! The rich oranges, yellows and reds helped to bring the setting even more to life. I also liked how well the characters were illustrated--their individual traits and mannerisms were so well depicted, and I especially loved the facial expressions of certain characters that made their feelings of happiness, remorse and anger so clear!

I thought the plot was also well-written. I haven't read many stories involving Mexican folklore but my interest has certainly been piqued after reading this! We follow the story of the Lucero siblings, starting with Carlos, the youngest Lucero boy and the little rascal whose actions get the whole family involved in this tale when he gets caught stealing from la curandera (a healer). There are many tales that have been spread through town about how la curandera is a witch because she's so evil, but we find out that there's a very sad backstory to why she ends up wanting to curse everyone (although that of course is no reason to go around cursing people just because you can lol).

At times I found the actions of la curandera unbelievably hysterical (especially the escalation of her actions), but the whole story is full of magic, a forest full of people turned into animals, the equivalent of the Mexican boogeyman who eats naughty children that exists and lives in a cave near town, etc., so it wasn't really 'too much'. It's certainly a fantastical story set in the real world during a period when people still believed in the mystical and mythical, and in magic, and where ancestral culture was very much alive and a natural part of society. This story showed the power that all-consuming grief can have on a person, but also how kindness and understanding can bring a person back to who they were. It teaches about the importance of respecting others by not feeding gossip and also about the importance of family and friends in mending relationships.

If it isn't clear by now, I really enjoyed all aspects of this graphic novel. The story, the characters and the illustrations came together brilliantly and made a fantastic read, and I would highly recommend it if you're looking to read a culturally rich and vibrantly illustrated comic! Thanks to NetGalley and North Fourth Publishing for the e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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*received for free from netgalley for honest review" This is certinaly original lol its not what I thought but I really liked it and thought It was cute, would reread.
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Under the Cottonwood Tree is a classic tale - a creepy old bruja in the forest punishing reckless, meddling children. It then becomes a tale of magic, understanding, forgiveness, grief and family.

The gorgeous story-telling throughout this graphic novel complements perfectly with the Mexican influence that is scattered throughout. From the Spanish language throughout the dialogue to the inclusion of Mexican mythology and folklore, a wonderful fantastical feel has been created. And don't worry! The story comes complete with a glossary if you feel a bit out of your depth.

The characters are fun and flippant in many ways, with the childish characteristics of our main characters really becoming a highlight of the story. And rather than a "villain" we have a morally grey antagonist that teaches us an important and touching moral.

The illustrations as well are gorgeous, only adding more to the fantasy and atmosphere this story weaves.

If you are looking for a book that is brimming with culture and fantasy, this is absolutely a fantastic choice.
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First of all, the artwork is STUNNING! The colors are so vibrant and the sketches are perfecto!
The story! It was a heartwarming tale talking about loss, the importance of family, and how, sometimes, one act of kindness is all the world needs. I felt like I was listening to someone telling me a Mexican folktale around the campfire. Recommended!

Thanks to netgalley and the publisher for the review copy!
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Beautiful graphic novel with wonderful illustrations.

It tells the tale of magic, family, love & hate and the power of kindness in the fight against anger.

I really liked this & would love to include a copy in my classroom library.
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What a lovely modern fable, with magical themes perfect for today's adventurous kids. I loved the Mexican setting and the colours are beautiful, with charming illustrations, and see this book appealing to even the most reluctant of readers, with engaging pictures and a comic book style. They will also pick up new words in Spanish without even realising it, as they are smoothly incorporated into the dialogue in a natural manner, since our young heroes are Spanish speakers. Without being overly didactic, the meanings are clear from the context and if not, could spark discussion and research. I can see the youngsters I know developing a fascination with Mexico. I would like to see other reimaginings and folk tales done in this style, and will recommend it to my young students to spark their interest in reading. 
Thanks for the opportunity to preview this book for a review.
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I was lucky to receive an Arc from Netgalley of Under The Cotton Tree By Paul Meyer which is a rather dreamy Graphic Novel.  It tells the story of brothers and a friend who go into a forest called a Bosque and there is a change in one of them.  There is even a healer who changed too.  I loved the artwork too it matched the dreaminess of the story.  You probably wondering why i keep using words like dreamy well the answer to this question is that it started out as being a strange dream which the author had as a Child.  So I am going to award this 3 stars.
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