Award-winning author Duncan Tonatiuh reimagines one of Mexico’s cherished legends. Princess Izta had many wealthy suitors but dismissed them all. When a mere warrior, Popoca, promised to be true to her and stay always by her side, Izta fell in love. The emperor promised Popoca if he could defeat their enemy Jaguar Claw, then Popoca and Izta could wed. When Popoca was near to defeating Jaguar Claw, his opponent sent a messenger to Izta saying Popoca was dead. Izta fell into a deep sleep and, upon his return, even Popoca could not wake her. As promised Popoca stayed by her side. So two volcanoes were formed: Iztaccíhuatl, who continues to sleep, and Popocatépetl, who spews ash and smoke, trying to wake his love.
Tonatiuh (Funny Bones) retells a Mesoamerican legend about a pair of volcanoes that can be seen from Mexico City. Iztacc huatl looks like a sleeping woman, while Popocat petl is said to be the form of a warrior who guards her. In Tonatiuh's story, Popoca is a suitor who sees past the princess Izta's mesmerizing beauty: "If you marry me, I promise that I will love you for who you are," he vows. "I will stay by your side no matter what." Izta's father promises her to Popoca if the warrior can defeat Jaguar Claw, the kingdom's sworn enemy. But a messenger from Jaguar Claw lies to Izta, telling her that Popoca has been defeated and offering her a potion to console her. She never wakes up. Popoca keeps his promise never to leave her, and the two are shown frozen under a mantle of snow. Tonatiuh's squat, stylized characters are modeled on those in ancient Mixtec codices, and their jewelry, weapons, and architecture all bear inspection and discussion. Sensitive readers may be dismayed by the grim ending, but it's a skillfully crafted recounting of a somber tale of love and devotion. Ages 6 9.
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Great book to start a conversation about our heritage