Friday, December 28, 2012

The Beautiful Lady: Our Lady of Guadalupe by Pat Mora, illustrated by Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher

This is a lovely story, beautifully told and illustrated. It's the story of Our Lady of Guadalupe, who appears to a simple peasant on a hill outside Mexico City. Unlike the typical Madonnas, "Her skin was brown and beautiful." Juan Diego goes to the bishop in the city and requests he build a church, but every time Juan asks, the bishop demands a sign. Finally, Our Lady provides a sign and signifies her favor to Juan Diego.

The story is framed by a grandmother and her daughters making paper roses and rose cookies in a cold December to celebrate Our Lady of Guadalupe. An author's note gives more information about the history of this particular manifestation.

Johnson and Fancher's illustrations are beautiful, as always. Although they don't have the intricate underlying patterns of Ugly Duckling or For the love of musicThis is more like It's Milking Time, with the simple warmth and glow of the earth toned art pervading the heartfelt story. I would have liked some instructions on making the paper flowers and cookies, but there are lots of instructions easily available online.

Verdict: This is a lovely story, whether you believe in the religious significance or not. It's short and simple enough to make a good read-aloud and the glowing illustrations will make this a favorite for readers. My only reservation is where to put it - I don't see a lot of people browsing the religious section in the nonfiction, but people don't expect this type of story in the picture books. What do you think?

ISBN: 9780375868382; Published 2012 by Alfred A. Knopf/Random House; Review copy provided by the publisher; Added to the library collection

No comments: