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ABUELOS by Pat Mora


by Pat Mora & illustrated by Amelia Lau Carling & translated by Elena Iribarren

Age Range: 4 - 8

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-88899-716-6
Publisher: Groundwood

Lovely watercolors contribute to the charm of this story about a wintertime tradition in northern New Mexico, when the abuelos, or grandfathers, disguised as frightening old men, swoop down from the mountains on cold winter nights to scare the children into good behavior. It is all in fun, a mix of Halloween and a warm family tradition, but little Amelia is truly frightened. Her older brother Ray’s teasing doesn’t help. However, all ends happily when Amelia detects the true identity of one of the abuelos, who joins the family in a dance and celebration with mouthwatering empanadas and bizcochitos. There are echoes of O’Keeffe in Carling’s paintings, which subtly transform the snowy backdrop of hills and mesas into monster faces. Perfect for those who want a gently scary story embedded in a fascinating and little-known “bogeyman” tradition from Hispanic New Mexico. The author’s note provides additional information, and places the story in the context of universal cautionary tales. Also available in a Spanish edition (ISBN: 978-0-88899-717-3). (Picture book. 4-8)