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JUAN AND THE CHUPACABRAS/JUAN Y EL CHUPACABRAS by Xavier Garza

JUAN AND THE CHUPACABRAS/JUAN Y EL CHUPACABRAS

By Xavier Garza (Author) , April Ward (Illustrator) , Carolina Villarroel (Translator)

Age Range: 6 - 9

Pub Date: Oct. 31st, 2006
ISBN: 1-55885-454-1
Publisher: Piñata Books/Arté Público

Their grandfather’s tales of his encounters with Latin American terrors La Llorona (the ghostly Weeping Woman) and the Chupacabras inspire Juan and his almost fearless cousin Luz to sneak out late. Their hopes of confronting the Chupacabras, a somewhat vampiric creature illustrated here as a rather comical dragon with birdlike legs, seem to come true when they meet up with a shadowy upright figure that apparently has wings fluttering near its head. Luz goes on the attack with her “magic” marbles, which she has soaked in holy water, and slingshot. Unfortunately, her victim turns out to be Juan’s father with a blanket wrapped around his shoulders, coming out to bring them back inside the house. Ward’s illustrations reflect Garza’s South Texas background, showing both cacti that flourish in semi-aridity and trees and fields of corn that benefit from irrigation. The expressions of La Llorona and the Chupacabras are both funny and scary, and the human characters are realistically drawn. Both Spanish and English texts flow smoothly, with enough action to keep younger readers involved. Another successful title for the author of Lucha Libre: The Man in the Silver Mask (2005). (Picture book. 6-9)