Bernal & Florinda by Eric A Kimmel – Google Images
Kimmel, Eric A. Bernal & Florinda A Spanish Tale. USA: Holiday House, 1994. ISBN 0823410897
This is the story of a poor cavalier who is in love with the daughter of the very wealthy mayor of Seville. The mayor refuses to let Florinda have anything to do with Bernal, because he is too poor. But Bernal is clever, and the mayor learns you can’t interfere in true love.
This books was good. The story follows a natural progression. It flows well. I like that you can see the exact cause and effect in the story. It teaches kids that every action has a consequence, and I like that a lot. There’s also a bit of irony sprinkled in, and it’s very witty. Bernal is clever and mischievous, and uses his resources to his advantage. It also teaches kids to not give up. He ended up getting exactly what he needed, he just went through a few steps to get it. This is a fast paced story that the children are sure to enjoy.
The biggest weakness was the lack of culture in the book. It’s a Spanish story, but the only thing that really tells us it’s a Spanish story are the names. I would’ve liked to see more culture in the book.
From Publisher’s Weekly:
“This original, Spanish-style picaresque story, from the team that produced Three Sacks of Truth , comes full circle via a satisfyingly unpredictable route. Kimmel’s telling is energetic and witty, sprinkled with small ironies and crisp turns of phrase. Rayevsky’s illustrations, even bolder and more stylized than usual, provide striking accompaniment: his characters are variously angular and pot-bellied, with theatrical postures and exaggerated expressions that run the gamut from determined to cunning to greedy and make the whole feel larger than life.”
From School Library Journal:
“Through a series of trades, a disguise, and a deception involving a seemingly dead body, Bernal finally attains his heart’s desire-Florinda’s hand in marriage. In a humorous denouement, the corpse coughs up the peach pit that was lodged in his throat and is restored to life. The dramatic dialogue is supported by theatrical illustrations rendered in broad strokes and intense, earthy colors. The pages resemble stage sets-the landscapes are painted backdrops and the figures stand in profile, speaking to each other and gesturing to the audience. This tale’s broad humor will appeal to children.”
Because the tale reminded illustrator Rayevsky of early European theatrical productions, he’s exaggerated the characters (they’re meant to look like actors in stage makeup) and placed them in front of backdrops reminiscent of painted sets. With the fast pace and lush look of a comic opera, this could be used as a picture book for older readers.
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Other books by Eric A. Kimmel:
Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins ISBN 0823431940
The Gingerbread Man ISBN 0823411370
The Story of Esther: A Purim Tale ISBN 0823422232