Miguel's brave knight Young Cervantes and his dream of Don Quixote

Margarita Engle

Book - 2017

Describes how Miguel de Cervantes found refuge from his childhood troubles by daydreaming of a brave knight who would right the wrongs of the world, the inspiration for his famous character Don Quixote.

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Location Call Number   Status
Children's Room j811/Engle Checked In
Biographical poetry
Atlanta : Peachtree [2017]
Main Author
Margarita Engle (author)
Other Authors
Raúl Colón (illustrator)
First edition
Physical Description
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 32 cm
Contents unavailable.
Review by Booklist Review

*Starred Review* Fifteen brief poems introduce readers to the early life of Don Quixote author Miguel de Cervantes. Through themed verses, Engle emphasizes the stories told by Cervantes' mother that sparked his imagination; the hunger his family experienced after Miguel's father was sent to debtor's prison; Miguel's pleasure whenever he was able to attend school; and his daydreams about a brave, helpful knight that helped him to anticipate a better future. Engle's poems are lyrical yet direct, each describing a single significant event. Disaster, for example, addresses the plague: No school. / No teacher. / No books. / Just sorrowful / prayers. / But I still carry invisible stories / in my head, my daydreamed tales / help calm / my worries. Colón's pen, ink, and watercolor illustrations (inspired by the prints of Gustav Doré) accompany every poem, bringing Engle's words into sharp focus. Some depict actual places and events, while others represent scenes from Cervantes' novel. The use of a limited palette (earth tones with blue and yellow accents) and distinctive costuming will help readers to better appreciate the sixteenth-century Spanish setting. Author and illustrator notes (as well as historical and biographical information) further clarify Cervantes for the intended audience. An intriguing, lightly fictionalized introduction to an iconic author, this will encourage readers to learn more about the first modern novel.--Weisman, Kay Copyright 2017 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

Engle's free-verse biography of Miguel Cervantes, the creator of Don Quixote, portrays the life of a boy in 16th-century Spain. The son of a compulsive gambler beset by debt collectors ("They even took our beds and plates./ Where will we sleep?/ How will we eat?"), Miguel imagines for himself a gallant savior, a theme Engle (Lion Island) returns to repeatedly: "A tale about a brave knight/ who will ride out on/ a strong horse/ and right/ all the wrongs/ of this confusing/ world." Miguel's father works as a barber until his demons get the better of him and he gambles everything away again. Poems about contemporaneous events-the plague, book burning-add depth to Engle's representation of the era. Colón's noble portraits, done in pen, ink, and watercolor, recall the work of classic popularizers such as N.C. Wyeth and the D'Aulaires. Even readers who don't progress to Cervantes's own work will come away with an indelible sense of the story and its creator. Author's notes provide background material. Ages 8-12. Author's agent: Michelle Humphrey, Martha Kaplan Agency. Illustrator's agency: Morgan Gaynin. (Oct.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by School Library Journal Review

Gr 3-6-In a collection of poems, Engle explores the great Spanish writer's early beginnings. Miguel Cervantes's vivid imagination and love of storytelling are presented against the backdrop of his difficult childhood as the son of a vagabond barber-surgeon who often gambled away his family's money. Despite the constant relocation across Spain because of his father's debts, the boy reveled in dreaming about a bumbling knight slaying imaginary monsters. His adoration of books and learning kept him going, and Engle's mastery of the written word is evident in these lyrical verses. Colón's pen-and-ink and watercolor illustrations are paired perfectly with the text and the subject. The sketchy browns, beiges, and teals give a dreamy quality to the narrative, and Cervantes's imaginings often float above renderings of his real-world setting. The poems' headings are presented in bold type and in faint watercolor, adding visual drama to the pages. Don Quixote appears beside the last poem, reminding readers of Cervantes's legacy. The book concludes with author's and illustrator's notes, historical and biographical notes, and more information about how Don Quixote, published in 1605 and credited as the first modern novel, has inspired artists for centuries. VERDICT This expressive picture book biography presents a solid argument for why Cervantes should be revered as an important figure in the Western canon. A gorgeous and well-crafted work for all nonfiction collections.-Shelley M. Diaz, School Library Journal © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Horn Book Review

A fictionalized portrait of Miguel de Cervantes in fifteen poems highlights the hardships of his childhood and his persistent optimism to suggest echoes of his most famous character, Don Quixote. Colsn's pen-and-ink and watercolor images' muted palette reinforces the grim realities of sixteenth-century Spain. Yet, the book's subdued overall style feels at odds with this writer's witty energy. Contextual notes appended. Also available in Spanish. (c) Copyright 2018. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Kirkus Book Review

An introduction to the childhood of the creator of the noblest literary knight of all time.Miguel de Cervantes y Saavedra is to Spanish literature what William Shakespeare is to English literature and is best known as the creator of Don Quixote, the brave knight whose idealism and perseverance have made him an enduring character for the past 500 years. In this account written in free verse, Engle weaves fact together with fiction to tell the story of young Miguel de Cervantes. Cervantes' childhood was one of hardship, as his father's gambling debts constantly put the family on the financial edge, and of instability, as the family kept moving, always one step ahead of its creditors. Could the seeds of the brave knight's deeds have been sown in Cervantes' childhood? Engle imagines young Miguel retreating into his imagination: "But when I close my eyes, / the spark of a story flares up. / A tale about a brave knight / who will ride out on / a strong horse / and right / all the wrongs / of this confusing / world." Coln's stunning pen-and-ink-and-watercolor illustrations add dimension and life to the story, depicting an olive-skinned cast of Renaissance Spaniards and aging Miguel from round-faced boy to lanky young man. Beautiful and engaging, this book will inspire readers to find out more. (author's, illustrator's, historical, biographical, literary notes) (Picture book/poetry. 7-10) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.