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Llama and the great flood: A folktale from…

Llama and the great flood: A folktale from Peru

by Ellen Alexander

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Based upon the indigenous mythology of Huarochirí, a mountainous region in northeastern Peru, Ellen Alexander's Llama and the Great Flood tells the tale of a llama who saves his human family from destruction when a terrible flood covers the land. Foreseeing the coming catastrophe in a dream, the llama leads his people to the top of Willka Qutu, where, together with the other creatures who have sought shelter there, they wait for the waters to recede.

Many cultures have a tradition concerning a Great Flood in ancient times, and readers will no doubt be reminded of the tale of Noah's Ark, found in the Book of Genesis. This Andean variant also explains the centrality of the llama in the culture of the region, and gives young readers a glimpse of ancient Inca beliefs. Alexander's illustrations are engaging, though not spectacular. I did wonder, reading her afterword, in which she explained the care she took to make the clothing and artifacts she depicted authentic, that she chose to include animals from all over the world in her scenes atop Willka Qutu. This is a small quibble however. My main complaint is that her source material, Dr. George L. Urioste's Hijos de Pariya Qaqa: La Tradicion Oral de Waru Chiri, has never been translated into English! So much for reading more from this fascinating tradition! ( )
  AbigailAdams26 | Jul 15, 2013 |
This book would be great to show how the different cultures have the same story, but different characters. The illustrations were in watercolor that depicts the time period. I would use this story, in science, when talking about the weather. ( )
  epalaz | Apr 24, 2013 |
Llama and the Great flood is a nice retelling of this folktale from Peru...I think this is our first Peruvian myth/folktale. Since our daughter recently did a study unit on the Aztecs and has previously done some reading about different countries in South America, she was aware that Llamas are abundant in South America, so this story was a nice addition to her factual study, bringing to life the beliefs of people who used to live in Andes. The text is simple and clean, sticking to the bare bones of the story...the llama has a dream that the world floods...but he was very sad and spent his days crying...finally telling his owner of the coming flood and helping him and his family up to the highest mountain peak, Willka Qutu where they and all the other animals wait out the flood. So really, this is the story of how one llama saved his family and helped bring a new world into being. The illustrations here are watercolor (I think) and are richly detailed but somehow manage to not be all that exciting. At the end of the book is an author's note which details the history story and her inspiration for writing it. Overall, it's a decent, if not overly exciting retelling of this folktale from Peru and would be fine as a read aloud story. I'll probably seek out other versions in my quest to find a nice book to add to our collection of mythology and folklore though, as this one didn't quite excite me the way I'd hoped. I give it four stars, the text is straightforward and easy for children to understand, the illustrations are good...the story just doesn't quite make it to great for me, but it's not a bad read. ( )
  the_hag | Dec 28, 2007 |
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In this Peruvian myth about the Great Flood, a llama warns his master of the coming destruction and suggests taking refuge on a high peak in the Andes.

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