A disappointing bilingual offering.
On the morning of his birthday party, young Roberto awakens to find his cascarones— decorated, hollowed eggs filled with confetti—are missing. Roberto concludes the Cucuy, or the boogeyman, has stolen them and bravely sets out to find the villain—a decision praised in his imaginings by the little monsters that are, bizarrely, his companions throughout the story in the illustrations but that are absent from the text. Roberto journeys around his town, following the trail of confetti left by the cascarones and discovering the Cucuy has stolen items intended for his party from various shop owners. In another illustrative choice that may confuse readers, the shop owners he meets are described one way (hands on hips, hands thrown into the air, etc.) but depicted another. The ending, in which Roberto finds the lost items but doesn’t grasp what has actually occurred, paints Roberto as an unbelievably naïve character. Child readers who see through that naïveté will be unlikely to want to identify with him. It’s also disturbing that everyone in this book is portrayed as pale-skinned—a representation untrue to the diversity of Hispanic peoples.
Weak character development, poor design and graceless art will leave readers dissatisfied. (Bilingual picture book. 3-6)