The Secret Footprints
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

The Secret Footprints

4.01 of 5 stars 4.01  ·  rating details  ·  93 ratings  ·  22 reviews
In a time not so long ago and on an island not so far away lived a tribe of creatures called ciguapas. They lived in cool blue caves underwater and came out on land only at night to hunt for food. Luckily, they had a secret that kept them safe from humans. But once, their secret was almost discovered. . . .Award-winning author Julia Alvarez weaves a magical tale about a br...more
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published September 1st 2002 by Turtleback Books (first published 2000)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 237)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
May 21, 2012 Gundula rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: children interested in folk and fairy tales, especially girls interested in folk and fairy tales
The Secret Footprints was and actually still is a lovely and at times thought-provoking folktale (one I reread regularly). I love both the story and the illustrations, although I have to admit, that the depictions of the ciguapas with their backwards feet took some getting used to for me. At first glance, the ciguapas seemed (to me) as though they were walking on strangely formed, wrecked legs, but the idea of the ciguapas having backwards feet as a safety measure to avoid discovery is both ench...more
Lisa Vegan
I read this for the May Picture Books Club at the Children's Books group. I wasn’t really in the mood for folktales, but I loved this story and its illustrations.

The illustrations are lovely, really special. Both the colors and the art style are very appealing.

The story completely engaged me. I enjoyed it much more than similar other stories I’ve read. I actually cared about the characters, both ciguapas and humans. There are some amusing parts, such as when what’s so feared about humans is spec...more
Very interesting tale about the legend of the Ciguapas. Apparently, the legend originates in the Dominican Republic and up until I read this picture book, I was totally unfamiliar with it. Basically, the Ciguapas are a mythical, underwater tribe of human-like beings who only come out at night (because they are afraid of people). The book tells the story of one very brave young Ciguapa girl who stumbles on to a friendship of sorts with a similarly-aged human boy. The story was intriguing and the...more
Apparently this story originates in the Dominican Republic, and I cannot say enough how beautifully written it really is. No matter how well the book is written however, it is the pictures that go along with this story that really make it shine! The ciguapas are said to have their feet on backward, and Negrin really made this stand out with his rich illustrations. The kids were enamored with these mythical creatures from page one.

Guapa is the main character in this story, and she is a young girl...more
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
I can truly say I've never read anything like this folktale from the Dominican Republic. People with their feet on backwards--quite a challenge for the illustrator! The existence of secret people, hidden from the everyday world, has always been intriguing, and this story is no exception. If Julia Alvarez has any other folktales or stories like this one, I'd love to hear them.
I like the mysteriousness of the footprints. That's my favourite part. And there's a little boy which meets the Ciguapa but she keeps it a secret. He didn't see the feet which are on backwards. And they live under water and they also can breathe underwater. They live in caves but no one knows about the secret of Ciguapas, their feet are on backwards in the story.
I enjoyed this story about the Ciguapas of the Dominican Republic. It's a nice story of trust, friendship, respecting differences, and being kind to one's neighbors. This is a good read for teaching community and family values to young readers.
Illustrator: Fabian Negrin
Publisher: Random House
Year: 2000
Interest Level: K-5
Reading level: 2-4

Julia Alvarez shares folklore of her Domincan ancestors in this beautifully illustrated text. The illustrations by the Argentine Negrin add a surreal quality to the story about the Ciguapas, beings that live secretly in the water. Their feet are reversed, so humans have not been able to discover the existence of the Ciguapas. One Ciguapa, Guapa, is very adventurous and her exploration of the humans' w...more
Guapa is a member of the ciguapas tribe. They live in the Dominican Republic and make their homes underwater. At night they come out to hunt for food and they are very fearful of humans. What sets the ciguapas apart from others is that although they are human, their feet are on backwards. This makes it difficult for anyone to track them. No one knew of this special characteristic. One day it was almost revealed. Guapa (her name means brave, bold and beautiful), went looking for food one evening...more
Adriana Escamilla
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 renowned author 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 s...more
Feb 10, 2011 Deborah rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Valerie (for the granddaughters), Alyssa and Amber (for the girls).
The cigualpas are a secret tribe of beautiful human-like creatures, with their feet turned the wrong way. They live in the water and only come on land at night to find food. They hide from humans to protect their species. One night Guapa ventured out to hunt and is seen by a boy. Guapa is chastised and she promises to be more careful. However, Guapa is intrigued by this boy and continued to go by his house to see if she could catch a glimpse of him. One day she comes across his family having a p...more
I really liked this book. This is the story of the Ciguapas (sea people with backwards feet). When one young see person sets out to discover the world she finds her self being discovered by humans. One human boy especially treats her kindly and she tries to tell her tribe that humans can be kind too.

I placed this story on my Native American shelf because Julia Alvarez said that this story has been told in the Dominican Republic, but she believes to have originated from Native Americans. It's a...more
Beautifully told and illustrated folk tale from the Dominican Republic about the secret race of Ciguapas who live in the water and hide their presence from humans (which they are able to do because their feet are backward, so their footprints always appear to be pointing in the opposite direction!). I love the young protagonist Guapa who is "brave and bold" and very curious about humans... and appreciated that this didn't lead to tragedy for anyone.
This story was selected as one of the books for the May 2010 - Latino reads at the Picture-Book Club in the Children's Books Group here at Goodreads.
A legend of Dominican Republic. The author has masterfully crafted the story about ciguapas tribe who live underwater and only come to the shore at night to hunt. They have feet facing backwards and so they remain undetected as they live footprints that go in the opposite directions... A good story for kids
Beautiful illustrations by Fabian Negrin; but I am becoming more and more a fan of Julia Alvarez. The tale she shares is new to me, and is of course, marvelously told.

L @ omphaloskepsis
Jun 30, 2008 Corinne rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: K-3 grade
Shelves: picture-books
Engaging story of the ciguapas, mythical creatures from the Dominican Republic. A young ciguapa comes in contact with humans and almost endangers the whole tribe. Beautifully illustrated.
Gussie enjoys this book. It is mysterious enough to keep his interest (he is two)--great illustrations. I like that it includes some Spanish and cultural references.
We've checked out this book at the library previously and when we read it again my children remembered everything about it. It is unforgettable.
This was an okay book. There were some good vocabulary words and it was interesting. It teaches about a legend from the Dominican Republic.
K added it
Jul 01, 2014
Joanne Jaquez
Joanne Jaquez marked it as to-read
Jun 25, 2014
Sophie marked it as to-read
Apr 29, 2014
Kimmie Bruun
Kimmie Bruun marked it as to-read
Apr 18, 2014
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
Julia Álvarez was born in New York City. Her parents moved back to the Dominican Republic when Álvarez was 3 months old and she was raised there until she was 10, when the family moved back to NYC.

She is currently writer-in-residence at Middlebury College and the owner of a coffee farm named Alta Gracia, near Jarabacoa in the mountains of the Dominican Republic. The farm hosts a school to teach l...more
More about Julia Álvarez...
In the Time of the Butterflies How the García Girls Lost Their Accents Yo! Before We Were Free In the Name of Salome

Share This Book