A Mexican legend explains the origins of two volcanoes.
Many suitors come from far and wide to gain the hand of the kind and beautiful Princess Izta, daughter of the emperor. Though these men present her precious gifts in exchange for marriage, Izta refuses them all. Instead, she falls for Popoca, a courageous warrior. He can offer her nothing except love and devotion, and that’s enough for Izta. Fate, however, conspires against the young lovers. By the emperor's command, Popoca is soon off to war against the dreaded Jaguar Claw. If victorious, Popoca can marry Izta. Little do both know that Jaguar Claw schemes to upset their union. The legend here turns tragic, and it’s a testament to Tonatiuh’s ability as a storyteller and artist that it never once overwhelms. Using his trademark digital collage style, the author crafts brutally stunning scenes full of sharp angles using a palette of earthy, evocative colors. The text pops with incisive purpose, making every action feel monumental. Yet it’s Tonatiuh’s attention to detail that makes this retelling so splendid. Characters radiate pure emotion with each gesture and body movement; unusual perspectives serve to emphasize these emotions further. As Izta and Popoca’s love is tested, despair gives way to unshakeable faith.
Equal parts melancholic and transcendent—a genuine triumph. (author’s note, glossary, bibliography) (Picture book/folklore. 6-9)