Watch Out for Clever Women! ¡Cuidado Con Las Mujeres Astutas!

Folktales told in Spanish and English by Joe Hayes



By: Joe Hayes
Illustrator: Vicki Trego Hill

A new edition of a folktale classic, now with five more stories about wonderfully clever women!

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Description

Common Core-Aligned Teaching Guide

A new edition of a folktale classic, now with five more stories about wonderfully clever women!

A bilingual collection of humorous trickster tales, in which women pit their formidable intelligence to outwit villains, husbands, brothers, fathers, and sweethearts. From the kind woman who tricked two men who thought they had robbed her of a ham to the woman who saved her gold by tricking her foolish husband into thinking it had snowed tortillas, these tales cultivate lessons of honesty, goodness, hospitality, and honor—not to mention intelligence and wit to survive. As Joe Hayes points out, “People the world over tell stories of a humble individual tricking an overbearing person of higher status, but the idea is especially cherished in Hispanic storylore. Making the trickster a woman, who would traditionally be thought of as less powerful than a man, adds spice to the trick.”

Joe Hayes is a nationally recognized author and storyteller. His Cinco Puntos Collection has sold well over 1,000,000 copies. Joe lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and travels extensively throughout the United States, visiting schools and storytelling festivals.

Vicki Trego Hill is the illustrator for the classic, best-selling ghost story La Llorona, the Weeping Woman by Joe Hayes. She has been a principal book designer for Cinco Puntos Press since its inception in 1985.

Awards and Accomodations

Winner of the Southwest Book Award [original edition]
Texas Bluebonnet Master Award List, 1997 [original edition]
Storytelling World Award [2019 edition]
Accelerated Reader

9 reviews for Watch Out for Clever Women! ¡Cuidado Con Las Mujeres Astutas!

  1. Wall Street Journal
    [The book] brings together 10 stories of wit, daring and just deserts by Joe Hayes. Each starts with a realistic pencil drawing by Vicki Trego Hill and a paragraph in both English and Spanish, then breaks for easier reading into English text on the left pages and Spanish on the right.

    A second collection of trickster tales incorporating some previously published material draws from the storytelling traditions of the American Southwest. “Watch Out for Clever Women! / ¡Cuidado con las Mujeres Astutas!” (Cinco Puntos Press, 127 pages, $12.95) brings together 10 stories of wit, daring and just deserts by Joe Hayes. Each starts with a realistic pencil drawing by Vicki Trego Hill and a paragraph in both English and Spanish, then breaks for easier reading into English text on the left pages and Spanish on the right.

    A tale titled “The Day It Snowed Tortillas / El día que nevaron tortillas” captures the book’s wry spirit. In the story, a clever wife manages to compensate for her husband’s failings. He’s a good fellow but dull-witted and unable to keep a secret, so when he accidentally brings home three bags of gold that robbers have hidden in the mountains, his wife has to get busy. “Get me a hundred pounds of flour,” she tells him, aiming to tire him out so he’ll have a long snooze while she creates the impression that tortillas have been falling from the sky. A week later, when the thieves come looking for their loot, the guileless husband explains that he found their gold “the day before it snowed tortillas.” The robbers shake their heads: “This poor man is out of his head!” and off they go, none the wiser, leaving the husband and wife with the bags of gold.
    – Meghan Cox Gurdon Visit Website

  2. Kirkus Reviews
    “At once a fun language lesson and a feminist story collection, this serves as a good introduction to folklore that celebrates the poor in the face of hardship.”
    Doubled in size from its original 1994 edition, this dual-language collection of classic folktales from the Southwestern United States will entertain and aid those studying Spanish. An old lady tricks the thieves who would steal from her. A young girl teaches her dishonest father a lesson in manners. A wife outwits her foolish husband along with the gold robbers who would hurt him. A lawyer’s subterfuge is turned against him by an Indigenous mother. A beautiful teenager hounded by suitors scares them away and earns herself a bit of freedom. All 10 of these tales have two things in common—the Southwestern culture from which they hail and the comeuppance meted out by determined women seeking to survive and thrive in the face of adversity. At once a fun language lesson and a feminist story collection, this serves as a good introduction to folklore that celebrates the poor in the face of hardship. The stories are simple and sparse. Their settings are vague (long ago and faraway). The characters are stereotypical. Yet this is the style of folktales; the cautionary stories are meant to leave stark images and simple themes that teach a moral lesson. Author Hayes does a fine job researching the oral traditions (endnotes speak to the variations, echoes, and origins of each theme). His Spanish translations are rich, well-recorded, and easy to cross-reference, as they face English pages. Quaint black-and-white illustrations by Hill are a nice bonus at the beginning of each story. A fine collection. (Folktales. 8-12)”

  3. The Horn Book
    “American Southwest storyteller Hayes retells ten folktales, five new and five from the 1994 original edition, with straightforward, often funny text in both English and Spanish. In these tales, women’s cunning saves the day from people with unsavory intentions (would-be thieves) or unfortunate habits (husbands who can’t keep a secret). Soft, realistic black-and-white illustrations by Hill, some new and some reused from the previous edition, open the stories. Back matter includes notes about the origins of every tale, acknowledging influences from Latinx cultures as well as others around the world.”

  4. Children’s Literature
    “The introduction to these, bilingual, Spanish/English folktales states that there is an old saying that a woman thinks more in one minute than most men think in an entire month. This pretty much sums up the philosophy expressed in this humorous collection of trickster tales. The tricksters turn out to be clever wives, mothers, daughters and sweethearts, who manage to outwit the villains to save their rather naive or even dumb males. Most of the stories are from the Hispanic tradition of the Southwest, although one tale deals with a Navajo shepherd and his wise mother. One tale, “The Day it Snowed Tortillas” has already been published in an all-English volume with the same title, by Joe Hayes. The illustrations are realistic black and white drawings.”(Previous edition)

  5. Bookpaper
    “A bilingual collection of Southwestern folktales with some tricky women teaching people simple lessons. Humor shines through the fabric of these fables, with bad guys finding that the joke is, invariably, on them.”(Previous edition)

  6. New Mexico Magazine
    “Our favorite storyteller, Joe Hayes, goes in for a bit of affirmative action in this collection of his Hispanic folktales. Every one of them features a woman heroine, every one of them is presented in Spanish and English, and every one of them is great fun in the best Joe Hayes style.”(Previous edition)

  7. Byrd Baylor
    “Here in the Southwest, Joe Hayes is a folk here himself—everybody’s favorite teller of tales from our own favorite part of the world.
    These lively New Mexico cuentos are written in Joe’s voice. You are drawn into a circle around him as you read. I loved the amazingly clever (as well as amazingly tricky) women who manage to save the day in each story.”(Previous edition)

  8. Benjamin Alire Sáenz
    “These stories are clear, lovely earthy—as still and as comforting as a smooth stone in the palm of an outstretched hand. As I read through these tales, I was reminded of the fact that a good story teller can always teach us something new about ourselves. If there is joy in simple things, then this book is filled with much joy.”(Previous edition)

  9. Houston Post
    “Children will delight in the tricks these clever women concoct.”(Previous edition)

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