Little Velasquez

Written by Katherine A. Kopple
Review by Steve Shaw

Velasquillo, “Little Velasquez,” is a dwarf in the court of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of 15th-century Spain. Barely escaping disease and danger, he travels to Toledo, finds a place at court and spends the rest of his life in service to the royal family. We see decades of court intrigue through the eyes of this man – who brings a humanistic sensibility to his position at court, where he’s mocked for his size but otherwise not treated cruelly.

Historical characters are seamlessly woven into the plot: Catalina (later Catherine of Aragon), the Grand Inquisitor Torquemada, the Marquesa de Moya , and finally Cristobal Colon himself. There is a detailed bibliography, and the narrative itself is written with a confident hand. The plot developes at a thoughtful pace, and the layout is professionally done. Easy to follow and accessible for all audiences.