An abbreviated version of the best-ever cautionary tale about the hazards of reading too much (among other things), played for laughs and matched to comical caricatures for illustrations.
Lathrop covers a select few of the original’s high spots in his plainly told paraphrase. Looking hilariously lanky and cross-eyed in Davis’ loosely drawn and colored cartoons, the bookish Don sets out in too-small armor to seek knightly glory. He chooses an oblivious peasant girl as his Dulcinea (“because dulce means ‘sweet’ in Spanish,” the reteller helpfully notes) and mounts Rocinante (“rocín means ‘old nag,’ and ante means ‘before,’ signifying that his horse used to be an old nag but wasn’t one anymore”). With his wise fool neighbor, Sancho Panza, as witness, he charges off to battle a windmill, a herd of sheep, a hapless wineskin and a cage of sleepy lions. Though buck-toothed and dopey of aspect, Sancho Panza gets his own chance to shine as he earns a bag of gold escudos judging several legal cases before Quixote is at last unhorsed by a concerned friend and agrees to take a year off from questing.
Cramped page design aside, an appealing first exposure for younger readers that highlights the story’s comedy over its satire and sentiment. (Picture book. 6-8)