‘Adventures of Don Quixote: Abridged Edition’
By Argentina Palacios (Author)
"Once, there was a man who went crazy from too much reading. He only read books about knighthood; that was the problem." So begins this charming retelling of Don Quixote de la Mancha, one of the most entertaining books ever written. Young people will delight in the hilarious adventures of the idealistic would-be knight and his "squire," Sancho Panza, as they set out to right the wrongs of the world. Ms. Palacios, a talented storyteller, captures all the flavor and irony of the original as the two heroes ride forth to conquer evil. Along the way the well-meaning but addled knight-errand mistakes a miserable inn and its keeper for a castle and its lord; imagines an ordinary peasant girl to be the noble lady Dulcinea, perceives windmills as giants to be overcome, and gets enmeshed in other cases of mistaken identity. These, and many more incidents and adventures are retold here in a beguiling, easy-to-read version, enhanced by six new black-and-white illustrations by Thea Kliros. This edition is sure to delight today's youngsters, just as the original has enchanted countless readers since its publication nearly 400 years ago.
This imposing volume presents the first part of the quest by the beloved Don, whose name stands for chivalry and courage--"The Impossible Dream." The book's heavy stock, binding and design all impart an air of style and prestige, reinforced by Bogin's suave translation, which makes good use of abundant dialogue. (The phraseology and vocabulary, however--"erstwhile," "apothecary," "coherence"--will be beyond younger readers.) Though the paintings by Spanish artist Boix are masterfully executed, some lack the sweep expected from this panoramic work; much of the imagery is somewhat pallid, both in tone and emotional impact. And, though the architectural details, period apparel and scenery are all richly evocative, the characters themselves are often small in scale and dwarfed by their stunning surroundings. Nevertheless, the presence of an elegantly produced, picture book version of this classic merits attention and applause.
Ages 8-14-- Cervantes's Don Quixote, the moniker and persona adopted by the addled Senor Quijada , who has read a few too many chivalric romances, hardly needs introduction to adults. However, most young people will have hardly heard him mentioned, much less had any firsthand contact with this larger-than-life literary creation. Bogin has taken some of the more involving, outrageous, and well-known adventures of the knight errant and his squire, Sancho Panza, and put them together into a relatively brief narrative that nonetheless is strikingly true to the tone and style of the Spanish original. Her prose, lively and at times employing modern vernacular to good effect, does full justice to Cervantes's mad Knight of the Sad Countenance. It begs reading aloud, and may well start discussion and contemplation. Boix's illustrations are delicate, detailed, gold-washed watercolors that create a kind of fairy-tale ambience. They will grab readers' attention and imaginations and direct anyone picking the book up to delve into it and to find out what's going on. Taken as a whole, this is a lovely job of bookmaking, providing an examplary introduction to a classic work.
(Ann Welton, Thomas Academy, Kent)
Age Group: 8-14