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‘We need the literature of other countries to expand our
horizons and stimulate our ideas. Without it, we are not only
diminished, we are starved’
(The Times, Magnus Linklater 29/06/05)
by Horacio Quiroga
Age Range: 9-11
Jungle Tales is a collection of stories by Horacio Quiroga, one of Latin America’s best short story writers. Although born in Salto, Uruguay Quiroga is synonymous with the province of Misiones, in the Argentine north-east. He made the Misiones rainforest the protagonist of many of his short stories, most notably his 1918 collection ‘Cuentos de la selva’ (Jungle Tales).
Eight short stories capture the magic of the mysterious Misiones jungle. There are snakes who throw glamorous parties with flamingos in their new fancy stockings, a giant tortoise who risks her life carrying a wounded man on her shell for hundreds of miles to bring him to safety, alligators who join forces with other animals to protect their swamp from men and a talkative bald parrot who loves his five o’clock tea.
The task of translating this Quiroga classic was a huge one for US filmmaker, English teacher, and Buenos Aires resident Jeff Zorrilla. He and his girlfriend Natalia Cortesi felt that English-speaking children – and adults – deserved the pleasure of discovering Quiroga’s magic jungle world so Zorilla took it upon himself to translate and self-publish Jungle Tales.
The stories are complemented by the striking and colourful illustrations of Dutch artist Bert Van Wijk.
There are very few children’s books translated into English from Latin America which makes Jungle Tales is a welcome addition to children’s literature.
Jungle Tales is available from http://www.etsy.com/shop/JungleTales