Trying to prove that he is capable of guarding the family farm, Juanito embarks on a magical journey that begins when he meets a horse who promises to help Juanito whenever he is in trouble, in a brightly illustrated version of a Spanish-American folktale.
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Although well-researched, this version of a popular Hispanic tale is hobbled by inept illustrations and a low-energy text. The plot line is common to many folktales: a magical creature (here, a seven-colored horse) rewards the kindness of a boy (Juanito) with magical assistance in winning the hand of a princess (in this case, the daughter of the alcalde, or mayor). Throw in the evil machinations of two nasty older brothers, and the story lumbers on through the hero's perilous quests and ends, at last, with the couple's triumphant wedding. While folktales rarely depend on originality for their success, there is little here to invigorate the predictable combination of staple elements. Dicks's (The House That Crack Built) watercolors feel devoid of emotion, and her depiction of the horse is especially disappointing, never living up to the description in the text ("Juanito counted seven colors in the little horse's coat, but they never seemed to his eyes the same seven colors"). The human characters are inconsistently drawn and sadly unappealing. Despite the title, this picture book is no horse of a different color. Ages 4-9.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Grade 2-5?A magnificent tale filled with treachery, romance, and magic. Like so many successful folktales, it has the requisite three impossible tasks that the hero must complete to win the beautiful (and rich) young woman's hand in marriage, and the two greedy and jealous older brothers. While watching over his father's crops, Juanito captures a magical steed who promises to help him if he lets him go. When the young man must prove himself worthy of his beloved, the horse comes to his aid, and their friendship is cemented through their perilous adventures. San Souci's competent retelling brings the tale to life. He provides a note describing the background for the story and setting. Versions he consulted include Jose Espinosa's Spanish Folk-Tales from New Mexico (Kraus, 1937; o.p.) and Riley Aiken's Mexican Folktales from the Borderland (SMU, 1980; o.p.). Dick's distinguished watercolor illustrations are filled with strong colors and detail. A collaboration that will be treasured by children and adults alike. Bravo!?Maria Redburn, Collier County Public Library, Immokalee, FL
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description Chronicle Books. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. 0811804127 Ships promptly. Bookseller Inventory # Z0811804127ZN
Book Description Chronicle Books, 1995. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P110811804127