TORO | Kirkus Reviews

A debut children’s book stars a bull and a heifer determined to follow their hearts and their dreams.

The season for the Running of the Bulls at the Feria del Toro in Pamplona, Spain, is quickly approaching. Only the finest bulls are selected for this prestigious event. The mother and sisters of Diego Del Toro are counting on him to bring honor to their herd. But Diego has other plans. His greatest desire is to become a rodeo bull. Meanwhile, on the other side of the ranch, there is another offspring of a great bull who wishes more than anything to run in Pamplona, to be considered “noble y bravo.” Unfortunately for Alicía Catalina Cortés, she is female. Swifter than her brothers, she is nonetheless forbidden by her father from going to Pamplona. Heifers are not allowed to participate in the Running of the Bulls. Even worse, Alicía’s father wants her to marry Don Julián Hernández, a frightening older bull. In front of Don Julián and Don Murciélago, Alicía falsely declares that she loves another, casually pointing her horns toward the field where Diego, whom she has yet to meet, is grazing. And in that moment of defiance, Alicía unknowingly unleashes a series of events that lead to adventure, romance, and almost certain death. Avner has a well-honed sense for both the dramatic and the humorous in this enchanting fantasy. When a domineering Don Julián meets the feisty and independent Alicía in a field, she so angers him that he charges her, knocking her into the air. As she lands, Diego happens to come running around the bend and collides with Don Julián, knocking him out. The two lovers-to-be run away, bickering, bantering, and sharing their dreams. In true Hollywood fashion, each has a best friend to aid in the coming misadventures. Diego has the irrepressible Jesús de los Jabalíes, an Iberian hog, and Alicía has the imperious Doña Madonna de Doñana, an Iberian lynx. Both are delightful secondary characters. Everyone winds up in Pamplona, where the action scenes become riveting. The appealing story has plenty of animated film potential.

A charming and engaging fantasy with characters readers will love and a strong positive message.

Pub Date: today

ISBN: 978-1-68433-523-7

Page Count: 142

Publisher: Black Rose Writing

Review Posted Online: June 8, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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