You often hear the phrase “plucky protagonist,” but Corinne La Mer, the 11-year-old main character of Tracey Baptiste’s newest novel for children, The Jumbies, has pluck quite unlike any you’ve seen, given the obstacles she faces.
Jumbies are the spirits of Caribbean folklore: Douens are the spirits of babies that have died before being christened or baptized. A churile is the spirit of a woman who has died in childbirth, though the baby lives. A La Diabless is a beautiful woman who lures men from the main road. (Look closely. She has one human foot and one cow’s hoof.) The soucouyant is an old woman who can remove her wrinkled skin, become a fireball, find her victims, and then suck blood from their arms or legs.
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