Legends and fairy tales are fascinating little capsules of information that tell so much about the country from which they were written. The story reveals what people in it's country of origin worry about, find funny, and consider most valuable. I love legends and fairy tales, but to be perfectly honest, most of the legends I am familiar with originate from Western Europe - Germany, Ireland, Italy. I had no clue what a Mexican legend entailed until I read this book - The Princess and The Warrior by Duncan Tonatiuh.
In this story based on a Mexican legend, a princess falls in love with a lowly warrior, and they want to get married. Her father wants his daughter to marry someone richer and higher in status than a humble warrior. They are sad until her father strikes a deal. If the warrior will go defeat the father's enemy, he will bless the marriage. The ending takes a Romeo and Juliet style turn, and the star crossed lovers remain side by side until they transform into two volcanoes.
This book was such a rich reading experience in so many ways:
- I loved being immersed in the ancient Aztec world through the traditionally drawn artwork that features people and objects drawn in profile. It looked like something that could be taken from a temple wall.
- The story uses language that calls back to the Aztec culture. That language comes in the Aztec language words complete with glossary in the back of the book. That language also comes in the little word choices that Tonatiuh uses that bring images of Aztec life to mind, words like the princess's heart shattered like "obsidian glass".
I'm so glad that I can add this book to my Europe-heavy legend/fairy tale collection. Central and South America have some many great stories, and I love that publishers are seeking out new and diverse stories.
What do you think? Have you read The Princess and The Warrior?