Abuelos

Overview


The tradition of los abuelos comes from northern New Mexico. In the cold months of midwinter, village men disappear to disguise themselves as scary old men and then descend on the children, teasing them and asking if they've been good. The abuelos encourage the little ones to dance and sing around huge bonfires. Afterwards, everyone enjoys cookies and empanadas. In this charming book, young Ray and Amelia move to a new village and experience the fright and fun of los abuelos for the first time. Amelia Lau ...
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Overview


The tradition of los abuelos comes from northern New Mexico. In the cold months of midwinter, village men disappear to disguise themselves as scary old men and then descend on the children, teasing them and asking if they've been good. The abuelos encourage the little ones to dance and sing around huge bonfires. Afterwards, everyone enjoys cookies and empanadas. In this charming book, young Ray and Amelia move to a new village and experience the fright and fun of los abuelos for the first time. Amelia Lau Carling researched the region for her vibrant artwork, and author Pat Mora's lively text captures the appeal of an old-world celebration now being revived.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

• Winner of the International Latino Book Awards, Best Picture Book, 2009

"Lovely watercolors contribute to the charm of this story about a wintertime tradition in northern New Mexico…Perfect for those who want a gently scary story embedded in a fascinating and little-know 'bogeyman' tradition from Hispanic New Mexico. The author's note provides additional information, and places the story in the context of universal cautionary tales." — Kirkus Reviews

"Scary shivery fun…cultural details…framed by warm family images&hellip'[Abuelos is] a great choice for Halloween sharing." — Booklist

"Mora introduces the intriguing midwinter New Mexican festival of los abuelos in this playful tale…watercolor and pastel illustrations impart Amelia's apprehension as well as family togetherness."—Publishers Weekly

Publishers Weekly

Mora (The Night the Moon Fell/ La noche que se cayó la luna) introduces the intriguing midwinter New Mexican festival of "los abuelos" in this playful tale. The narrator, Amelia, is about to experience the spooky-sounding tradition for the first time, and Papá offers reassurances. "The sooty, hairy abuelos [in this case, old mountain men] come down to make sure all the children are behaving.... You know how Halloween is scary and fun? So is the coming of the abuelos." Played by costumed villagers in scary masks, the abuelos chase the children around bonfires; when one snatches her brother, Amelia grabs the abuelo's mask, only to discover her uncle beneath it. Carling's (Mama and Papa Have a Store/ La tienda de Mamá y Papá) watercolor and pastel illustrations impart Amelia's apprehension as well as family togetherness. The shadowy mountains surrounding her town are drawn to look like howling ghosts in early blue-hued spreads, while a warm yellow dominates scenes of the concluding fiesta. Ages 4-7. (Oct.)

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Children's Literature - Lesley Moore Vossen
Legend has it that long ago, in the cold winters of New Mexico, village men would go up to the mountains and dress as scary-looking old men and then return to the village as abuelos. While the word usually means grandfathers in Spanish, these abuelos come to the village to check on who has been good and who has been bad. The abuelos, wearing masks, tease and scare the children, chasing them around a bonfire made by the villagers. But it is all in good fun and ends with a party, replete with cookies and empanadas. This look at the legend features siblings Raymundo and Amelia, who have moved back with their family to New Mexico, and are discovering the tradition for the first time. While Amelia is frightened at first, she courageously confronts the abuelo who grabs her brother. She then discovers that the abuelo is actually her uncle. Beautiful watercolor and pastel illustrations and a well-written text make the tradition come alive for the reader. Reviewer: Lesley Moore Vossen
School Library Journal

Gr 2-4

Ray and Amelia have a typical sibling relationship-he is a slightly annoying older brother who enjoys scaring his sister. They have moved to New Mexico, where they now live with their extended family. Their father tells them the story of los abuelos sooty, hairy mountain men who come down each winter to make sure that the children are well behaved. While the story frightens Amelia, her family reminds her that the reenactment of the abuelos ' arrival includes a big party. At the end of the book, Amelia ends up rescuing her brother from one particularly scary abuelo who seems very familiar to both of them. Mora, as always, is a master storyteller. In her hands the framing story of Amelia's family and the retelling of the folktale blend seamlessly. This book is not bilingual, but there are many Spanish phrases throughout the family's conversations. Carling's pastel and colored-pencil illustrations are uneven; while the landscapes are beautiful and evoke the crispness of a snowy winter night, the people seem awkwardly posed and slightly unrealistic. However, this story will be welcomed in libraries across the Southwest. Abuelos will be fun to add to traditional winter stories.-Susan E. Murray, Glendale Public Library, AZ

Kirkus Reviews

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)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781554981014
  • Publisher: Groundwood Books
  • Publication date: 3/1/2011
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 1,417,833
  • Age range: 4 - 7 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.60 (w) x 10.70 (h) x 0.20 (d)

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