Nekane, the Lamina & the Bear



A tale of the Basque Pyrenees
by Frank P. Araujo, PhD
illustrated by Xiao Jun Li
Collector’s Item. Autographed by Author & Illustrator
ISBN 978-1-87810-01-5
Hardcover, 32 pages, 10½ x 9, 1993
Toucan Tales, Volume 1
Basque version of Red Riding Hood
Ages 6 & older

This delightful Basque folktale pits a quick-witted young heroine, Nekane, [ne-KAH-nay] against a mysterious and most unusual villain, the lamiña. Believed to be the first Basque folktale storybook published in the U.S., cultural details are delicately woven through entertaining and educational text and exquisite watercolors to enthrall children and adults alike.

“. . . beautiful full-color folktale storybook that will enchant every child from 6 to 66 . . . seasoned with a peppering of Basque words (and easy pronunciation guides) to add to the authentic flavor. The watercolor illustrations are exquisite. This beautiful book, pitting quick-witted Nekane against the wily lamiña, is sure to become a family favorite.”
The Basque Studies Program Newsletter, University of Nevada, Reno

“In compellingly expressionistic art, the Chinese-born illustrator creates free-flowing images in vibrant watercolor. Araujo’s narration of this satisfying Red Riding Hood variant is brisk and informal, with plenty of lively dialogue that will be fun to share aloud. A fine story hour choice.” — Kirkus Reviews

“The strong female character and nonviolent ending will gratify the politically correct, while a glossary emphasizes the book’s multiculturalism. Araujo’s well-paced telling is fresh and atmospheric, as are the unusual watercolor illustrations. One color seeps into another, creating a fluid, appropriately fanciful effect.” — Publishers Weekly

“Xiao Jun Li’s watercolor paintings have a light, lilting translucence that leaves plenty of room for the imagination. Storytellers looking for strong female leads will like this one; Little Red Riding Hood could learn a thing or two from Nekane.” — The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

“The bright watercolor paintings outlined by delicate pencil lines … portray the action effectively and energetically. Use this volume with fairy-tale units as a variation on a theme.” — Booklist

“. . . unlike Red Riding Hood, the heroine of this Basque folktale is resourceful and quick thinking. Araujo’s text is nicely paced and reads aloud well . . . Li’s pictures are strong and vibrant. The ethereal quality of the watercolor medium provides a fluidity that complements the story’s shape-shifting motif. A fine addition that should prove useful in multicultural and comparative folklore curricula.” —School Library Journal

Additional information

Dimensions9 x 10.5 x .4 in