cover image Don Quixote and Sancho Panza

Don Quixote and Sancho Panza

Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra. Scribner Book Company, $16.95 (72pp) ISBN 978-0-684-19235-2

A master reteller of classic tales, Caldecott Medalist Hodges ( Saint George & the Dragon ) offers an abridgement of Cervantes's celebrated picaresque novel. In her deft presentation, she has wisely focused on Quixote and his ``devoted squire,'' Sancho Panza, two comic characters whose antic misadventures are certain to hook readers. An informed, literate introduction leads directly into these six stories--atmospheric tales that have retained all their drama, wit, and humanity in the passage of nearly four centuries. Included are the hilarious ``The Flying Horse'' and the justly famous ``The Battle with the Windmills''--in which the Don shouts at his whirling enemy, ``I'll make you pay, no matter how many arms you shake at me.'' Even these excerpts make some demands on the audience, but the rewards of this rich, if occasionally difficult, reading fun are manifold. Marchesi's vigorous illustrations--particularly his lively, expressive figures--follow nicely in the classic style of illustrated books (despite a somewhat lackluster jacket). Ages 11-up. (Sept.)