Juan and the Chupacabras / Juan y el chupacabras
by Xavier Garza
Illustrated by April Ward
Spanish translation by Carolina Villarroel
Publication Date: October 31, 2006
Imprint: Piñata Books
“The beast had dark green skin and glowing red eyes that were the size of two baseballs,” Abuelo tells his wide-eyed grandchildren. According to Abuelo, a creature called the Chupacabras lurks in the fields looking for fresh victims.
Young Juan and his cousin Luz savor Abuelo’s hair-raising stories. He tells the children of defeating terrifying fiends like the Chupacabras and La Llorona. The children cling to every word as he describes his brave stand-off with the Chupacabras, a terrifying beast with wings, claws and sharp fangs.
But yet they wonder if there’s more to his strange story than meets the eye. Plucky Luz hatches a plan to either disprove Abuelo’s tale or hunt down the menacing monster and put an end to it once and for all. Armed with a bag of marbles dipped in holy water and a sling shot, the children venture into a cornfield one moonless night in search of the truth.
Just like Chupacabras’s thirst for blood and the children’s appetite for Abuelo’s stories, young readers aged 3-7 will devour the pages of this exciting picture book that transmits the storytelling traditions of the Mexican-American community from one generation to the next.
Named to the 2007-2008 Tejas Star Reading List
“Tall tales or true adventures? Cousins Luz and Juan can’t tell if the wild stories their grandfather tells them of his own life-and-death battles with the infamous Chupacabras are fact or fiction. So they arm themselves with a trusty slingshot and a bag of marbles (that have been soaked in holy water for good measure) and venture out into the night-shadowed cornfields in search of the legendary bloodsucking stealer of children. When the demon makes a frightening appearance, Luz shoots her slingshot directly at its forehead. Before the children can celebrate, the monster yells out their names in a strangely familiar voice. It turns out that they have mistaken Juan’s dad for the Chupacabras. When they explain that they were only trying to verify Abuelo’s stories, the father merely smiles and urges them to run along home. Besides, he says, the Chupacabras only comes out when the moon is full. The English and Spanish texts appear on the same page, separated by a narrow illustration. The full-page illustration moves the action along nicely. An excellent choice for storytime and classroom sharing.”—School Library Journal
“Another successful title for the author of Lucha Libre: The Man in the Silver Mask.”—Kirkus Reviews
“The story is well-developed, with children who are realistically inquisitive…”—Críticas
“Smoothly integrated information in fluid colloquial English and Spanish combines with grainy graphic-novel-style illustrations executed in acrylic to create an oddly compelling and sophisticated package. Certain to be a popular choice.”—School Library Journal on Lucha Libre: The Man in the Silver Mask : A Bilingual Cuento
“…an attractive package with definite appeal for boys. This title is sure to become popular in both libraries and bookstores.”—Críticas, Starred Review on Lucha Libre: The Man in the Silver Mask: A Bilingual Cuento
Born and raised in the Rio Grande Valley, XAVIER GARZA is a prolific author, artist and storyteller whose work focuses primarily on his experiences growing up in the small border town of Rio Grande City. He graduated from the University of Texas – Pan American in 1994 with a BFA in Art and has exhibited his art and performed his stories in venues throughout the United States. His work includes Lucha Libre: The Man in the Silver Mask: A Bilinguel Cuento (Cinco Puntos Press, 2005) and Creepy Creatures and Other Cucuys (Pinata Books, 2004). Xavier Garza lives with his family in San Antonio.
APRIL WARD was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest. She received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York and has been working in children’s book publishing ever since. She currently lives in San Diego, California.
Accelerated Reader Quiz#: 115729
ATOS English: 4
ATOS Spanish: 4.1
Atos Interest Level: LG