Author : Alma
Flor Ada, Illustrator : Reg Cartwright
2nd Grade and Up
The Three Golden Oranges
The Three Golden Oranges, Hardcover, English, Book, Alma Flor Ada, Reg Cartwright, 2nd Grade and Up, 9780689807756, $17.99
$202.68 for the Story Collection Green Books and CDs English Set, Including 20%-Off, Free Shipping, and No Sales Tax : 10 Hardcover English Books, 5 Softcover English Books, 1 English Storytelling CD, and 1 Bilingual Storytelling CD
2008 CALIFORNIA READERS' COLLECTION : MIDDLE SCHOOL LIST
A poetic and magical retelling of a traditional Spanish folkltale that celebrates a spirit of cooperation and brotherly love. The inspiring illustrations are by Reg Cartwright.
Author’s Note : The Spanish folklore is abundant in wonderful tales, as diverse as the country from which they originate. Many of them were brought to Spain by the Arabs, who inhabited large areas of the Iberian Peninsula from 711 to 1492. The magic characteristic of the stories of One and a Thousand Nights, is somewhat present in this tale of enchantment. I’m very happy that one of my forthcoming books is a collection, written in collaboration with Isabel Campoy, of traditional folktales of Spanish-speaking countries to be published by Atheneum.
Listen to Vienna Rose read The Three Golden Oranges to you. A marvelous example of the magical encounter between a child and books that we wish for all children. And here's an earlier reading by Vienna Rose.
Publishers Weekly : Ada adds feminist panache to her retelling of the classic Spanish folktale. Mat!as and his two older brothers wish to wed, but there is not a single unmarried girl in all their lush valley. The old woman who lives on the cliff by the sea has the answer: if they travel to a distant castle, pick three golden oranges and bring them to her, each brother will have the wife he desires. But they must work together or, she cautions, "Woe to you if you do not follow my advice." Mat!as, the only one to comply, wins his destined bride, the kind Blancaflor, and she helps him to save both his brothers and her bewitched sisters. Ada's author's note cites no specific source for her retelling, but does contrast her Blancaflor tale with some of the more popular versions. As in her original fairy tale, The Malachite Palace, she adopts a straightforward, sometimes bland narrative voice ("When Mat!as... saw that there was only one orange left, he felt very sad for his brothers"). But the artwork will sustain readers' interest. Cartwright's (The Band Over the Hill) vivid and varied vignettes and spot illustrations rendered in flat, round shapes and bold colors evoke folk art while displaying a sense of life and movement. The pictures here are as succulent as the oranges themselves. Ages 5-8.
Journal : Grade 1-5-In this well-known Spanish folktale, three brothers are
instructed by their mother to find wives. An old woman advises them that they
must work together and tells them to travel to a castle grove, pick three golden
oranges, and together bring them back to her. The two older brothers, who are
vain and shallow, disregard her advice and are put into the castle's prison,
where they are rescued by Mat!as, the compassionate youngest son who follows the
woman's directions and gets the fruit. On the way home, the older brothers open
their oranges and once again find themselves in the dungeon. When Mat!as brings
his fruit back to the old woman, she cuts it open and a dove flies out. Later,
he removes a thorn from the bird's neck and it turns into a young woman named
Blancaflor. They return to the castle and free her family from a spell. Mat!as
marries Blancaflor, but her sisters refuse to marry his brothers. Cartwright's
flat, folk-art style characters wear traditional Spanish costumes. The yellows,
greens, and oranges in the rounded patchwork countryside contrast with the black
of the brothers' clothing and bright blue skies. Full-page illustrations
alternate with smaller pictures to move the eye and relieve the long text. Ada
keeps the story as simple as its many twists and turns allow, but this is still
a complicated tale. An author's note discusses variations of the folktale and
how oranges fit into Spain's history.
Booklist : In this version of a popular Hispanic folktale, three brothers in search of brides are told by an old woman that they will each find the wives they want--if they work together. She sends them on a quest to bring her three golden oranges. Of course, the two oldest try on their own and fail, and the youngest pulls them together. In a nice twist, he is finally rewarded by a strong bride who chooses him. The text is long, sometimes too long, especially with the repetition of the pattern of three; but the telling is lively, the message is light, and the stylized oil paintings in bright colors combine magic and personality, rhythm and character, with a strong sense of drama.
Kirkus Reviews : Ada (Under the Royal Palms, 1998, etc.) reworks the traditional story of Blancaflor, taking swipes at greed, vanity, and the practice of arranged marriages in the process. Some well-traveled types help make the points: older brothers full of themselves and not above treachery; the innocent, well-intentioned youngest brother; a wise older woman; and a young woman in dire circumstances, with the moral fiber to endure. Here the story revolves around three brothers wishing to wed, and how they seek the advice of an elderly woman and then ignore all her warnings. The two bad-of-heart brothers wind up in a castle jail, and then marriageless; Matas, the pure one, liberates a family under a sorcerer's spell, gains love and marriage, and fulfills his mother's wishes. Ada invests her lengthy retelling with a quiet musicality that softens the predictability of the narrative. Meanwhile, the Spanish countryside comes blazingly alive under the bold illustrations of Cartwright's stylized, utterly transporting artwork. (Picture book/folklore. 5-8)
Latin Baby Book Club : LBBC’s recommendation for the August Libro del Mes, is Alma Flor Ada’s The Three Golden Oranges. Ada’s adaptation of the classic Spanish fairytale is spectacular with changes to the original story line that create a tale that flows simply and beautifully. The story of three brothers who wish to marry and set out to find the woman of their dreams, they first visit the wise old woman who lives in a cave on the edge of a cliff. Spinning her wool, the old woman tells them how to find the brides that they are seeking. Naturally, two of the brothers (Santiago and Tomás) do not heed the old woman’s advice and promptly get into trouble, but the third, Matías, follows the directions as best he can and is eventually rewarded with the apparition of the kind and joyful, Blancaflor. The two quickly return to the castle to rescue both Matías’ brothers (trapped in the castle dungeon) and Blancaflor’s mother and sisters - who, along with Blancaflor, had been cruelly transformed into an orange tree with –tada! – three golden oranges! Unlike most fairytale endings in which the handsome prince is rescuing the princess with his extraordinary strength, agility and dashing good looks, Three Golden Oranges emphasizes the value of honesty, selflessness, honor, and dedication. When asked what type of wife he wants, Matías asks for one who is "kind, joyful and someone I could love very much" as opposed to his brothers who desire wealth and beauty. And in a novel turn of events, it is the sweet Blancaflor who chooses Matías to be her husband, rather than the other way around! Yay! Altogether what a great message…and one that I hope to impart to my own son and daughter. Set in rural Spain, the illustrations are fantastic. Reg Cartwright does a great job depicting the Spanish characters in both their attire and features (aquiline noses are just so Mediterranean – I should know!) And his colorful, rounded artwork vividly reflects the Spanish countryside and small towns with a folk art style. If you would like to buy your own copy of The Three Golden Oranges, please click here. Or you can follow the link in our sidebar to the LBBC’s on-line store. We have both new and gently used copies available. And be sure to leave us a comment to let us and other blog readers know what you think about the book. Happy reading!
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