The Secret Footprints

The Dominican legend of the ciguapas, creatures who lived in underwater caves and whose feet were on backward so that humans couldn’t follow their footprints, is reinvented by Julia Alvarez. Although the ciguapas fear humans, Guapa, a bold and brave ciguapa, can’t help but be curious–especially about a boy she sees on the nights when she goes on the land to hunt for food. When she gets too close to his family and is discovered, she learns that some humans are kind. Even though she escapes unharmed and promises never to get too close to a human again, Guapa still sneaks over to the boy’s house some evenings, where she finds a warm pastelito in the pocket of his jacket on the clothesline.

One thought on “The Secret Footprints

  1. Amy Crespo says:

    This is a beautiful tale that automatically reminded me of The Little Mermaid. This is a legend that originated from Dominican Republic. Guapa, a ciguapa that is full of curiosity and exploration is very common within children of all ages. Identity and diverstiy play a large role in this text for the ciguapas hide out underwater because they are afraid to be seen by the humans who live on land. The beautiful illustrations of the tropical island display colors of deep blues. The ciguapas remind me of Taino Indians with the women wearing dresses and the men having only their bottoms covered. This is one text that represents various versions and would be a great start to exploring different versions from different cultures of the same story.

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