While focusing on one story in Blancaflor, the Hero with Secret Powers: A Folktale from Latin America: A Toon Graphic you will see multiple stories come together due to the collective ideals of storytelling around the world.
This version of Blancaflor by Nadja Spiegelman and Sergio Garcia Sanchez highlights the Latin influences of this wonderfully illustrated story of women’s strengths and hidden talents which we see unfolding to save the prince/her love.
The story is simple, Blancaflor is the daughter of ogres. Her father gave the handsome (but not exactly bright) prince of the kingdom extreme luck five years ago. Thinking he is the luckiest person in the world (and he is) he agrees to the challenge of the ogre. However, little does he know that Blancaflor is the real luck behind everything after noon of the day he arrives at the castle. As it was exactly then the ogres gift expired. The adult knows that Blancaflor and the Prince will live happily ever after (cue second Little Mermaid reference), but there is always the question “Will they?”
The illustrations are what grabbed my attention. They are cartoonish, but not cartoony. However, while you know that a hand is a hand, sometimes the images are fantastical mimicking the magic of the story and making you slow down to read the art as well. They are colorful, but not overly so. They are both complimentary and helping the text flow along, but also have a life of their own and tell the story as well.
Due to the end scene where Blancaflor is planning on taking her own life (though this is handled delicately), this might not be for sensitive readers. Also, due to the picture book graphic novel format, the older crowd (at least ages eight and up) might be the best bet for reading.