Kirkus Reviews QR Code
MIGUEL'S BRAVE KNIGHT by Margarita Engle Kirkus Star


Young Cervantes and His Dream of Don Quixote

by Margarita Engle ; illustrated by Raúl Colón

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2017
ISBN: 978-1-56145-856-1
Publisher: Peachtree

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.” Colón’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)