What do chupacabras, candelabras, and cucarachas have in common?
Three silly goats, Jayna, Bumsie, and Pep, live in precarious proximity to the nemesis of cabras everywhere—the dreaded goat-sucker. Tired of waiting for the inevitable visit from their voracious neighbor, they brave the night armed only with a candelabra. Suddenly the lights go out; the chupacabra has eaten the candelabra! In the ensuing chaos, the goats discover the purple beastie’s three favorite comestibles are candelabras, cucarachas, and—whew!—goat…cheese. They sigh with relief and make sure to keep the chevre coming. Aranda’s whimsical, Mexican folk art–inspired ink, watercolor, and gouache illustrations are this story’s principal draw. The wacky villain is Easter-bunny cute (with the exception of its fanged shadow), and the mustard, pink, and orange goats are endearingly goofy with their exaggerated hair- and horn-styles. However, Nobleman’s slight and flighty tale’s subliminal message is troubling. The goats are so blinded by fear that they fail to notice that the chupacabra never threatens or demands. “Oh, would it be any trouble?” is its wistful response to their bumbling offers of food. Yet the goats continue to assume the perky winged omnivore has them in its sights. Aside from the initial confrontation, they fail to regain control of their lives. Instead, the hoofed trio voluntarily commit themselves to appeasing the chupacabra’s prodigious appetites indefinitely.
Fear of the unknown is the overriding theme, and yet there isn’t a satisfactory resolution—except for the very plump chupacabra. (Picture book. 4-8)