|Blancaflor, the hero with secret powers : a folktale from Latin America|
Author: Spiegelman, Nadja
In this updated adaptation of a classic Latin American folktale, Blancaflor, a young ogre with magical powers, decides to secretly help a charming prince who has made a foolish bet with her father. Through saving the prince and the kingdom, she learns to be honest with herself and others about the things that make her special. In graphic novel format.
|Illustrator:||Garcia Sanchez, Sergio|
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 09/15/2021 With fantastic art full of stylized figures and exaggerated shapes, this retelling of the classic Latin American folktale Blancaflor showcases the wit and quick thinking of the titular heroine in a lively fashion. Blancaflor has powerful magical skills, and when a handsome prince agrees to her ogre father’s impossible trials, she surreptitiously helps him succeed. The prince (who’s not the brightest bulb, bless him) chalks his success up to his luck, but it’s Blancaflor who helps them escape her father’s wrath. Sanchez’ inventive, Winsor McCay–like panel layouts and swirling, crisp linework delightfully animate Blancaflor’s fantastic feats, like turning a mountain into bread or conjuring a forest of tall trees from a comb. It’s impossible not to be charmed by art so full of personality, and the story itself is a subversive treat—Blancaflor’s no damsel in distress, but the one who ultimately saves the day. Bookending the story are two essays offering more context into this folktale and Latin American cuentos in general, adding some curriculum benefit to this delightful comic, which is also available in Spanish. - Copyright 2021 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 10/01/2021 Gr 3–6—Blancaflor's hungry ogre father has invited a prince to test his luck in the usually impossible game of the Ogre's Three. If the prince loses, he'll be eaten by the father and Blancaflor's family will inherit the prince's kingdom; if he wins, he gets the ogre's castle. When the prince arrives and is given near-impossible tasks to complete, Blancaflor finds herself captivated by him and does everything within her power to ensure that her father loses. The use of intricate, curved lines adds visual intrigue to natural elements in this clever and humorous take on a feminist fairy tale told around the world. Scenic panels, particularly those involving the royal family, take on a pastel, stained glass aesthetic. Vertical paneling in the physical environment (in buildings and in nature) skillfully conveys physical movement and story progression in a limited space, and power is often depicted via an effective use of exaggerated character scaling. The prince appears light-skinned—his parents have different skin tones implying different racial or ethic backgrounds—while Blancaflor and her sisters appear to be darker-skinned, likely of mixed European and Indigenous heritage despite having an ogre parent. An introduction is included, and there is a full Spanish-language version; in the English version, only the lyrics to the Spanish Renaissance song "Din Dirin Din" appear in Spanish. VERDICT This version of the classic story is a lovely confluence of European and North American culture that celebrates the strength and wit of a young girl whose abilities have been overlooked or underestimated.—Alea Perez, Elmhurst P.L., IL - Copyright 2021 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.