cover image Bernal & Florinda: A Spanish Tale

Bernal & Florinda: A Spanish Tale

Eric A. Kimmel. Holiday House, $15.95 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-8234-1089-7

Bernal, a poor but resourceful cavalier from Seville, is forbidden to court his lover, Florinda, because his only possession is a field swarming with grasshoppers: her money-grubbing father, the mayor, is immovable on the subject. Bernal vows to make his fortune from those grasshoppers, and he does just that, trading a sackful for a goose, the goose for some charcoal, and so on until he has both traded and schemed his way toward the mayor's consent. 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. Ages 5-8. (Sept.)