[Ebook] The Corn Grows Ripe By Dorothy Rhoads – Reliableradio.co.uk
Two stars is really too low of a rating for this book I might not carry it all the way to three, but it s definitely worthy of two and a half The Corn Grows Ripe is a short but solidly crafted story about a modern day Maya family, seen mostly from the perspective of a twelve year old boy named Tigre pronounced Tee gray who is descended from the great Mayan people Tigre s family is no stranger to grief Once a family with four growing sons, sometime before the beginning of this book a sudden outbreak of fever killed all three of Tigre s brothers in a single week, leaving just the one boy to carry on the family name Along with his little sister, mother, and father, Tigre s great grandmother lives with the family now, and is openly critical of the way that Tigre is being brought up in the wake of the tragedy that was his brothers deaths Tigre s parents are somewhat permissive with him, for the most part allowing their always happy and playful only son to run around and have a good time while his father shoulders the brunt of the necessary farming work Tigre s great grandmother warns them over and over that she believes taking such an approach does no favors for the boy, as one day soon he will have to step into his role as leader of the family, and without adequate work experience he will not be prepared when that day arrives The day of Tigre becoming head of the household arrives quickly than anyone could have guessed when his father is badly injured while working the fields His leg has been broken, and the bonesetter delivers the news that he won t be able to walk on it at all until harvest time The corn hasn t even been planted yet, and now the farmer won t be able to do his job How will the family survive without a crop to harvest Tigre s great grandmother may have thought that his parents were babying him, but the boy clearly has some powerful reserves of personal strength that he calls upon now in this time of great need Tigre takes on the task of planting the corn all on his own, using what his father had taught him about the process and expanding that basic knowledge to fit the requirements for a boy his age to successfully complete the task It s an enormous job, really way too big for a kid to be expected to manage without a lot of help, but it almost seems as if knowing that his little sister, mother and great grandmother are relying on him for their very survival gives Tigre an edge to his passion that allows him to go beyond what he should by rights be capable of achieving, and actually get done all of the necessary planting work before the expected rainy season begins What s , Tigre accomplishes all of this while still keeping up with his schoolwork After putting his heart and soul into the cultivation of the family s soil, though, severe drought places everything he has worked so hard for into serious jeopardy Without water the corn will never grow, and without corn his family might starve Isn t there any way to bring forth rain from the dry, dreary skies Is there not some way to convince the gods that precipitation is deserved by these hardworking people Rain or shine, by the time his father has recovered from his broken leg and is able to work again, Tigre has proven himself beyond what even his great grandmother could have ever hoped Tigre is still the laughing, playful boy that he had been since birth, but the fires of adversity s kiln have brought to the surface the fineness of all of his other traits as well, and shown that the family is in good hands with him already even though he is still so young A meaningful study of a significant part of the Maya culture, The Corn Grows Ripe may be most impressive for the way that it gives readers living in their own wealthy civilizations of today some deeper insight into the feelings of a culture heavily dependent on one food source, and the devastation that a natural disaster such as drought can bring because of that dependence A lack of water isn t a big deal to most Americans living in modern times, but for a people who derive everything they have and everything they are from the corn they grow, drought is a plague that threatens to wipe out entire families from starvation before the next year s planting season can arrive to save them The Corn Grows Ripe is a good story about a boy trying to find his identity amidst a family history checkered by tragedy, and how that struggle to learn about himself is impacted by the fearful reality of drought for the contemporary Maya I m pleased that The Corn Grows Ripe is still in print as of 2011, and I would recommend it to anyone who asks. The Corn Grows Ripe reads like an easier, consistently interesting version of And Now Miguel It describes roughly a year in the life of a young boy as he takes on the responsibilities of a Mayan corn farmer.Although the setting is the Yucatan peninsula, the cultural information would also apply largely to Guatemala, which is still mostly Mayan today The time period of the book is not specific, but it is clearly post Columbian I imagine that many Mayans lived this way into the 20th century I don t know if any currently do.The pacing and the characters were stronger than I expected from a 60 year old book I especially enjoyed the relationship between the boy, Tigre, and his great grandmother The illustrations were expressive. This is another book that I enjoy while I m reading, but I know that later I won t remember many details of the story This is also another Newbery honor that I wonder why it won Not that it isn t a perfectly nice story It s a quick read and a coming of age story about Tigre, a young Maya boy in Yucat n who must plant the corn his family needs for food when his father is injured in an accident The hardest part about planting the corn is that first the milpa or cornfield, which is a chosen area in the center of the forest, must be cleared or bushed by cutting down the trees and burning those trees after they have dried The corn must then be planted with faith that the gods will send rain so that it will grow In fact, all of the bushing, burning, and planting process must proceed with careful timing, attention to the weather, and with faith in the gods For the Mayas, making milpa is a religious rite.Hm, maybe I ll remember of the details of this book now that I ve put them in my review.Quite a few people have shelved this as historical fiction, and it definitely has that feel But it isn t strictly written as historical fiction The time period is never mentioned Is making milpa still something the Maya people did in 1956 when this was published Do they still do it today A quick check of Wikipedia confirms that milpa is a crop growing system used throughout Mesoamerica It has been most extensively described in the Yucat n peninsula area of Mexico Consequently, I ve shelved it as fiction 3.5 stars.A favorite quote Tigre worked on his rope Several times he had to unravel it and start again, but each time it was a little easier A few months ago, he thought, he would have given it up as not worth the trouble But his persistence in keeping on with the bushing had done something for him besides getting down bush As using his muscles constantly had strengthened his arms, so doing the hard thing had exercised and strengthened his will It was easier now for him to stick to unpleasant things. Newberry Honors 1957This is a coming of age story told from the perspective of a 12 year old boy growing up in a small village on the Yucatan peninsula It is nicely told, but the story has multiple problems I tried to find information on Dorothy Rhoads, who she was and what her motivation was to write this story, but I could not find a single shred of biographical information online I am not so much bothered by the fact that Mayan and Catholic beliefs are present simultaneously This is to be expected Catholicism has never sought to eliminate the underlying culture, only to transform it Dorothy Rhoads, however, intertwines Mayan and Catholic belief systems to the point where you don t know where one begins and the other ends Not only is it presented in a way as if there were no differences between the two, the Catholic elements are for the most part wrong Which makes me question the validity of the Mayan aspects What s , there is a church in the village, meaning, there is a priest and Masses Wouldn t you think that after 500 years of Christianity the people know the difference Here are some examplesHe came to the end of the street and stopped before a pair of large wooden crosses that guarded the entrance to the village These were the image of Holy Cross, a very ancient Maya santo, and the patron of the villageAm I understanding this right, the cross is a Mayan saint From the glossary it does mention for the cross to be an object of worship and religious rites from ancient Maya times, is also considered a santo I find this rather muddled The word santo means saint as well as holy That the cross is holy is crystal clear from a Christian perspective, but it never was or is a person From the Mayan perspective, are we talking pre or post Columbian I did a word search in pertinent articles, but couldn t find any mention of a cross in Mayan mythologyMay third came, the day of Holy CrossNo, the Church s feast day, the Exaltation of the Holy Cross is 14 SeptemberHoly Cross too had been carried out from church, to watch the dancing There was a novena in the church, nine consecutive evenings of prayer to Holy CrossIn both of these sentences the cross is treated as an idol, as if the cross itself is a god and or personIn February a boy child was born He was named Juan Bautista John the Baptist , for that was the name of the saint on whose day he was bornOh dear John the Baptist is such a prominent figure in the New Testament, and his feast day is 24 June, not anywhere near February He is Jesus s cousin and was born 6 months before him Hence the Church put his feast day exactly 6 months before ChristmasFather had prayed and burned candles to San DiegoHe was a real guy, he lived 1474 1548 and is venerated as a saint On his tilma cloak is the famous image of Our Lady of Guadalupe Here Rhoads got it right, as long as one adds that saints are venerated not worshiped.There is , but I think this will suffice The illustrations are completely uninspiring They are one dimensional pencil sketches without perspective highlighting Maya ethnicity, but there is really nothing for the eye to discover We don t know what the inside of the home looked like, no hearth, no utensils or where the family gathered for meals, no view of the milpa, no village square, no flora and fauna, etc etc I find them rather ugly If I hadn t been to Central America before, I wouldn t know how to picture any of the scenes in my mind with any accuracy This is just a children s book, and I might be nit picking Still, with a little care and a desire to get the facts right, I mean, couldn t she have looked up the saints days for February This book will not make it into my library for the grandkids. Only let it be a good rope, Tigre Do not disgrace us with poor workmanship And let it be finish if you begin I wasn t sure if I was going to like this book It opens up with an Indian Maya folk tale about how man is made from corn It the goes into the story of a young boy of 12 named, Tigre, who is not particularly known for his help Grandmother thinks he is being coddled, Tigre is full of guilt but no ambition just wishes, and the parents are sympathetic And then Tigre s father has an accident that makes it necessary for Tigre to step up and be the man of the family This is where I particularly did enjoy the story Tigre not only learns to work hard and think of his family and still manages to study at night so that his family does not have to pay a fine for his ignorance, but he learns to think ahead and use wisdom The drawings are simplistic but in a way I liked how they represented the culture It was very related to the geographical and cultural atmosphere Where I really was unsure about the book, in terms of giving it to my kids to read and enjoy or not, was the fact that the Mayan culture believed in many different gods and calls on them to send rain It was fascinating to see how they kept their cultural can I say that word again beliefs and yet were influenced by the Catholic Christian missionaries that came into their land The suggested age for this book is 8 12 I would have to evaluate depending on the child I personally probably wouldn t give it to a child under 10 Not because of reading level but because I think the maturity between 8 and 12 is a large difference, and also just some of the beliefs do not align with our family beliefs and I can see it being a bit overwhelming at that age. An interesting story of a modern era Mayan boy who has to clear and plant his family s milpa corn patch after his father is injured While Mayan legend and Mayan gods play into the telling of the story, it still felt a little lacking and I am not sure why this was a Newbery Award winner Decent, but not exceptional. The Newbery committee really went through a Mayan phase. Oct A Newbery Honor BookCan Tigre Find The Strength And Courage To Support His Family When Tigre S Father Is Badly Injured In An Accident, The Family Is Thrown Into Turmoil Who Will Plant And Harvest The Corn That They Need To Survive And To Please The Mayan Gods The Neighbors Have Fields Of Their Own To Tend, And Tigre S Mother And Grandmother Cannot Do It On Their Own Twelve Year Old Tigre Has Never Done A Man S Work Before Can He Shoulder The Burden On His Own, And Take His Father S Place A Book Of Special Artistic Distinction, With Its Well Told Story Rich In Mayan Folkway And Custom And Its Boldly Appropriate Drawings The Horn Book Disaster hits this family when the father breaks a leg at the beginning of corn planting season His twelve year old son must suddenly grow up and take over or the family will starve over the winter.The family is a Mayan family long after the empire is no than jungle covered ruins Traditions persist The corn planting is one.Throughout the book the conflict between the ancient traditions and present Christian faith appears along with a accommodations the people have made This makes it interesting for any reader.The book is written for younger readers It goes quickly and remains interesting to hold an older reader s attention.