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Children's LiteratureThis Mayan version of the traditional Spanish folktale "Blanca Flor" tells the story of a young prince who, in the course of losing and regaining his identity, falls in love with a princess named White Flower. After helping him to complete the impossible tasks her evil father has set him, White Flower uses magic to trick her parents into allowing the young couple to marry and live happily ever after. The story is also a version of the archetypal fairytale, Snow White and, as such, much of the delight of this book lies in its particularly Mayan details, richly elaborated by the watercolor illustrations of Colombian artist Yockteng. The author is listed as a Jacaltec Maya, who first learned this story from his grandmother. Princess White Flower transfers her magic to indigenous objects: ears of yellow, white and red corn, to a wooden hair comb, and a mirror, and finally turns herself into an ear of corn to hide from her mother. Her father, W'itz Ak'al, is a Mayan demi-god, the Lord of the Forest. Like so many fairytales, this one does not always explain why: why the prince and princess fall in love, why the father is evil. The thin quality of watercolor, as it appears on the page, makes that medium an excellent complement to the thin, open-ended quality of some of the story's twists and turns. In addition to its interest to children as a simple story, this book may intrigue adult students of folktale and mythology. 2005, Groundwood Books, Ages 5 to 12.
—J. H. Diehl