Summary: PreS-Gr. 3. The creators of Tomas and the Library Lady (1997) offer another glowing picture book set in the American Southwest, but this time, the story is a magical tall tale. In a cozy village, Dona Flor grows from an unusual child, who can speak the language of plants and animals, into a giant, whose heart is as large as her enormous hands and feet. After ferocious animal cries terrorize the villagers, Flor sets out to find their source. The culprit--a tiny, mischievous puma, who ingeniously amplifies his kittenish growl into a beastly roar--is an amusing surprise, and Flor soothes the cat in its own language, returning peace to her village. Mora strengthens her economical, poetic text with vivid, fanciful touches: the villagers use Flor's colossal homemade tortillas as roofs, for example. Colon's signature scratchboard art extends the whimsy and gentle humor in lovely scenes of the serene heroine sweet-talking the animals or plucking a star from the sky. A winning read-aloud, particularly for children who can recognize the intermittent Spanish phrases. Gillian Engberg Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
Themes: Peace, Fear, Leadership, Compassion
Classroom Implications: An American Southwest myth is an excellent addition to a study on myths and folktales in a classroom. This picture book includes Spanish phrases, which always benefit native and emerging Spanish speakers. The author uses descriptive, poetic language that is sure to bring students into the story.