The Legend of El Dorado was written and illustrated by Beatriz Vidal. The story was adapted by Nancy Van Laan for this book. Born in Argentina, Beatriz Vidal gives a fresh look at an ancient myth told by her father when she was a child. The native Chibchas people live near a magical lake called Lake Guatavita. In this beautiful land, ruled by the King, his wife, and his daughter, there are boundless treasures; the waters literally flow gold with the precious metal. But one day the princess disturbs the magical lake and awakens an emerald serpent. Tthe lives of everyone in the village are forever altered. So begins the legend of El Dorado, which translates to “the Gilded Man,” for the King must cover himself with gold powder before he can dive into the lake to save his young daughter. The illustrations in this book truly bring the magic of this story to life. The gold and the jewels nearly shine off the page, and the deep blues and greens of the water and landscape are simply enchanting. One could find themself wondering where such a country could be discovered, or if perhaps it is already there under their nose. Van Laan does an excellent job of adapting this story from its native language into English in such a poetic manner. It is hard to believe it was not originally told this way. This book is perfect for late elementary school students who are comfortable reading on their own. However, it is also highly appropriate for story times or group readings, or even for someone who wishes to read it to a younger child, especially because it is so visually appealing.
Check the WRL catalog for The Legend of El Dorado: A Latin American Tale.