Dorothy Rhoads - The Corn Grows Ripe. PDF

PDF This story looked cute and it was a Newbery Medalist, so it instantly went into my buggy when I was shopping at America’s Thrift Store last October.

The Story.

Corn is the life of Tigre and his family – they plant it, they grow it, they harvest it, they eat it, and they sell it to buy whatever else they need. But this year, Tigre’s father has met with an accident and has broken his leg. He will not be well again until the time when they should be harvesting the corn which they have not yet planted. What to do!

Mother’s idea is to send for Pedro Paat, Tigre’s uncle, to help them. But Tigre is determined that he should be the one to provide while his father is sick, and Great-Grandmother agrees with him. So, early the next morning, he goes out into the fields to prepare their plot for their corn. Ai, it is hard work for a twelve year old!

Will Tigre be able to provide for his family? And when rains and drought alternately threaten the crop, will the corn still grow ripe?

Discussion.

There were several points that pleased me greatly in The Corn Grows Ripe. The first was that, although his parents spoil him a little bit and don’t make him work, Tigre wants to do better, to help his father with the household tasks, and go out into the field with him. And later, when his father is injured, Tigre volunteers to do his work. Although the work proves more difficult than he could have imagined, he sticks to it.

And then there was the religious aspect of the story. The book begins by relating the Mayan creation account. It goes on to reference corn gods, rain gods, deer gods, jungle gods, all kinds of gods! Credit is given to these gods when bad things happen, credit is given to these gods when good things happen, credit is even given to these gods when nothing happens!

There are many instances of pagan practice from the book, but I don’t have room for any of them. The extend from simple prayers to the gods to formal ceremonial sacrifices and events in which Tigre plays an important mediatorial role.

Conclusion. As a story to provide exemplary role models and religious teaching to your children, I would not recommend this book. As a folk tale or legend to go along with history studies, it’s okay. However, as I mentioned before, every page is covered with Mayan religion.


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