Saturday, February 9, 2008

Module 2 Picture Books: Dona Flor

Dona Flor: A Tall Tale About a Giant Woman with a Great Big Heart

Mora, Pat. 2005. Dona Flor: A Tall Tale About a Giant Woman with a Great Big Heart. Illustrated by Raul Colon. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.

Pat Mora has reached down into her Spanish roots to blend the traditional tall tale with a cultural flair. Dona Flor is an oversize female with an equally giant heart to match. Popular in her pueblo for helping others and spreading kindness, Dona Flor is called upon to save the village from the terrible howling puma. Animal friendly Flor speaks all languages and soon discovers that the fearsome ‘monster’ that has frightened her friends is only (to her) a small, prank-loving wildcat that soon becomes her gentle pet. Raul Colon’s watercolor washes give a sense of movement and emphasize Dona Flor’s exaggerative size and proportion. Contrary to traditional fairy tales where giants are feared, Dona Flor is gentle, kind and helpful. The texture is unifying and the etched illustrations flow throughout the double page spreads. Pictures go off the page to give emphasis to Flor’s size as if she is too big for the book. The humorous, non-threatening characters will appeal to readers of all ages who may just learn a few new words in Spanish, themselves.

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