Books by Jonathan Coombs

IT’S BEDTIME, CUCUY/¡A LA CAMA, CUCUY! by Claudia Galindo
BEDTIME BOOK
Released: Oct. 31, 2008

Another bedtime battle is won in this bilingual text featuring the Latin-American bogeyman and his mother, both rendered here as decidedly cute and unfrightening elfin creatures with blue skin and spiky blue hair. Cucuy, the little monster, refuses to go to bed, behaving monstrously with screams and kicks, ugly faces, wiggles and jiggles and every sort of tantrum until mother declares "enough fuss." The now red-faced Cucuy finally agrees to count sheep and "get just a tiny bit of sleep." Coombs's deep, richly colored paintings bring out a typical child's surroundings (filled with a spirited assortment of monster dolls) and reflect his extreme remonstrations. The loosely rhyming English text is all-too-often forced ("Even in all that craze Mamá is able to put him in his pj's"); it appears above a serviceable Spanish translation. When bedtime becomes a hideous affair, the outrageously grotesque behavior of one may spark a bit of realistic appreciation for many. (Picture book. 3-5)Read full book review >
DO YOU KNOW THE CUCUY?/¿CONCOCES AL CUCUY? by Claudia Galindo
CHILDREN'S
Released: May 31, 2008

In an attempt to allay children's fears of the Cucuy, Galindo gives the bogeyman of Latin American lore a makeover. Told by her Papo that the Cucuy is a monster who takes misbehaving children away, the young protagonist's fears dissipate when she meets the real Cucuy, a "cute," fuzzy blue creature whose "socks never match." The two proceed to have a play date: skipping rope, climbing trees, dancing and indulging in candy and corn. Despite the life-like rendering and attention to perspective in Coombs's illustrations, the realism diminishes Cucuy's appeal as a playful, mythological creature. The sparse design also lacks compositional depth and cultural weight. Readers who enjoy the thrill of a harrowing tale will be disappointed to find such a sugary-sweet Cucuy in this bilingual story. (Picture book. 4-7) Read full book review >