October 15, 2017

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The Princess and the Warrior: A Tale of Two Volcanoes retold by Duncan Tonatiuh | SLJ Review

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redstarTONATIUH, Duncan, retel. The Princess and the Warrior: A Tale of Two Volcanoes. illus. by Duncan Tonatiuh. 40p. bibliog. glossary. Abrams. Oct. 2016. Tr $16.95. ISBN 9781419721304.

princess-and-the-warriorPreS-Gr 2 –Princess Izta is the most beautiful and eligible maiden in the land. One day, a humble warrior named Popoca approaches the princess, offering her the promise of true love and fidelity instead of lavish gifts or material wealth. Izta falls in love with him, even though her father, the emperor, feels Popoca is unsuitable for his royal daughter. He agrees to allow Popoca and Izta to marry, under one condition: Popoca must defeat Jaguar Claw, the infamous ruler of a neighboring land. Popoca fights many battles and defeats Jaguar Claw. But with the help of a bribed messenger, a bitter Jaguar Claw manages to take one last stab at Popoca by tricking Izta into poisoning herself into a deep sleep. Just as he promised, Popoca stays by her side, lying next to her until, as legend has it, two volcanoes are formed: Popocatépetl, meaning smoky mountain, and Iztaccíhuatl (sleeping woman). Award-winning author/illustrator Tonatiuh successfully retells this ancient tale using his distinctive and artistic illustrations with spare but effective text. The action battle scenes will excite and captivate, while the images of Popoca kneeling beside Izta in determined wait will stir the hearts of readers. The integration of Nahuatl words (defined with a pronunciation guide in the glossary) into the narrative provides a rich opportunity to introduce and explore another facet of Aztec culture. VERDICT Use this Aztec legend to inspire readers while teaching a bit about dramatic irony; a first purchase for all folklore collections.–Natalie Braham, Denver Public Library

This review was published in the School Library Journal September 2016 issue.

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