Spanish / Venezuela
(The lady caiman)
Manrique, María Eugenia
París, Ramón (illus.)
Caracas: Ediciones Ekaré, 2019. –  p.
Caiman | Pet | Love of animals | Loyalty | Picture book
White Ravens issue: 2019
Reading age: 4+
It is genuinely astonishing to read on the last page of this book that the story is based on real events. As a young man, Faoro brings home a caiman baby and raises her. A close, intimate bond is formed between man and animal. Faoro’s wife Ángela eventually enters the picture, and it is she who continues living with and caring for the three-meter-long reptile after Faoro’s death. María Eugenia Manrique, who met the animal protagonist when she was a child, describes the female caiman lovingly and respectfully. As strange as it sounds, the animal was a kind of substitute child for Faoro and Ángela and a playmate to the neighbourhood children. This story about unconditional loyalty and the love of animals is illustrated by Ramón París on double-page spreads, which seems absolutely appropriate given the protagonist’s physiognomy. The pictures, which hint at illustration styles of the 1950s and 1960s, possess great narrative quality and convey the cheerfulness and soft melancholy of the story very well.