cover image La Matadragones

La Matadragones

Jaime Hernandez. Toon, $16.95 (48p) ISBN 978-1-943145-30-0

For his retellings of three traditional Latin American tales, Hernandez (the Love and Rockets series) creates panel artwork that’s satisfyingly crisp and sure. In the first story, an unnamed but resolute young woman uses a talking magic wand to slay a dragon and win a husband. In the second, a rat named Ratón Perez falls into a vat of soup, and the community grieves for him—until an old woman realizes that he might not be dead. In the third, Tup, a lazy but enterprising young man, enlists ants to do his farmwork and outwits his older brothers. Fairy tales with brown heroes and heroines are rare, and these stories are full of unexpected twists, as a rat wins the heart of a woman (“I have been meaning to ask you to go out with me for a long time,” Ratón Perez murmurs to Martina) and industrious ant employees build an earth oven and roast Tup’s corn while he naps. Sensitive readers may be disturbed by the mourning rituals in the second story, in which grieving birds cut off their own beaks and tails. Available in English and Spanish. Ages 8–12. [em](Apr.) [/em]