Parents' Guide to

El Chupacabras

By Jan Carr, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 4+

Entertaining bilingual book plays with legend and language.

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This fun, faux legend about a mythical creature, written in both English and Spanish, delivers the translations in such clever, creative ways that language learning feels like play. Most bilingual books have either a sprinkling of words in the foreign language, or provide separate blocks of text for each. But in El Chupacabras, the lines are translated in various ways, and many are half English, half Spanish, then flip-flop the order in the translation below. For example, "What she found fue una tortita de cabra./Lo que encontró was a goat pancake." This ingenious arrangement encourages the reader to actually read both languages, while ensuring that translation is easy and the meaning clear.

It's set in an unspecified Latin American landscape, and the faces of the farmer and others are brown and weathered. The subject matter can seem a little unsavory -- a goat sucker terrorizing a farm -- but the art clues us in to take the scary parts lightly. Illustrator Crash McCreery was plucked from Hollywood, where he's developed characters for major films, and for el chupacabras, he created a monocle-wearing, gentlemanly gnome who likes to dip his churros in hot chocolate. The skin of the deflated goat has folds like a comfy fuzzy blanket. And among the funniest pictures are the endpapers, where goats are seen chomping on the paper, destroying this entertaining book.

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