Review of The Dragon Slayer: Folktales from Latin America

The Dragon Slayer: Folktales from Latin America
by Jaime Hernandez; illus. by the author
Primary, Intermediate    TOON    48 pp.
4/18    978-1-943145-28-7    $16.95
Paper ed.  978-1-943145-29-4    $9.99
Spanish ed.  978-1-943145-30-0    $16.95
Spanish paper ed.  978-1-943145-31-7    $9.99

Three amusing and enlightening folktales full of action, magic tricks, and fantasy are presented in a spirited and lively comic-book format (simultaneously published in Spanish as La Matadragones: Cuentos de Latinoamérica, translated from the English by María E. Santana). In the titular story, a resourceful young lady stops at nothing (not even taking on a seven-headed dragon) to get what she wants. “Martina Martínez and Pérez the Mouse” is an engaging new take (written by Alma Flor Ada) on the traditional tale that serves as a reminder of the common sense of the doñas, adult women in Latinx communities. In “Tup and the Ants” we meet a lazy young man who outwits his older brother with his cleverness. Folktales can transcend space and time and, as this title proves, genres too. The (mostly) six-panel pages feature expressive characters and colorful tones that add to the playfulness of the stories. An introduction by F. Isabel Campoy places the tales in the context of the folktale traditions of the Americas; comprehensive back matter provides primary sources, a bibliography, and contextual facts.

From the July/August 2018 issue of The Horn Book Magazine: Special Issue: ALA Awards.

Alicia K. Long
Alicia K. Long teaches multicultural materials for children and young adults at the University of South Florida--School of Information. She also presents family literacy and bilingual programs in public libraries, and maintains the young adult collection at the academic library where she works. She is the chair of the 2018 Pura Belpré Award committee.

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