Festival of the Bones / El Festival de las Calaveras: The Book for the Day of the Dead


On Mexico's Day of the Dead, the skeletons rattle and roll in their biggest party ever.

Describes the Day of the Dead, or el Dâia de los Muertos, a holiday celebrated in Mexico from October 31 to November 2.

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On Mexico's Day of the Dead, the skeletons rattle and roll in their biggest party ever.

Describes the Day of the Dead, or el Dâia de los Muertos, a holiday celebrated in Mexico from October 31 to November 2.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Overall, the illustrations are comical, and not at all frightening, which will enable children of all ages to enjoy the book. A wonderful addition to bilingual collections in elementary and public libraries." —Críticas

"For those immersed in Mexican culture, this neatly designed square volume offers a fresh look at a familiar subject." —Publisher's Weekly

"His remarkable little poem, given in both the original Spanish and a rather free English translation, conjures up merry skeletons enjoying their special day but doesn't shrink from the facts." —Washington Post Book World

"The text moves with a lively dance meter. San Vicente's artwork, done in black outlines with touches of warm color, is just sinister enough to produce a little frisson, but not so frightening as to be off putting to young readers and listeners."—School Library Journal

"Gleeful rhythmic and occasionally rhyming verse in English and Spanish detail the peregrinations of the skeletons…this evokes the spirit of the Festival in the way that kids will appreciate. " —Center for Children's Books Bulletin

"This is a dual-language book that will be enjoyed by Spanish and English readers alike. Teachers will find it useful for teaching poetry as well as teaching about an important Mexican holiday. Highly recommended!" —Reforma Newsletter

"The Festival of Bones is at once lively and funny and offers a playfully imaginative treatment of the Day of the Dead." —Latinola.com

Publishers Weekly
Originally published in Mexico, this bilingual primer on the Day of the Dead may be best suited to those already familiar with the festival. For the uninitiated, an afterword explains that Mexicans celebrate el d!a de los muertes from October 31 to November 2. Feasts, music and visits to gravesites help the living honor the dead, who are believed by many to return for the festivities. Vicente, a respected Mexico City artist, creates charming skeletal characters; their playfulness accentuates the holiday's merriment. Rendered in a style reminiscent of scratchboard illustrations, his bony subjects dance in top hats and ride bicycles amid a fetchingly surreal world. For "Pascual's skeleton sings a song/ Without any pain or dread/ Although half a leg is really gone/ Still a flower sits upon his head," he pictures the skeletal fellow balanced on one leg atop a crescent moon and a wide-eyed owl as his audience. But for norte$os, the macabre content may not translate well. The text abruptly begins with a deceased guitarist crooning, "The skeletons are going along the road to the graveyard.... These are the dead. How happy they are." They may be further confused by a shifting narrative voice and non sequitur conclusion. But for those immersed in Mexican culture, this neatly designed square volume offers a fresh look at a familiar subject. Ideas on how to honor the dead and recipes for the holiday feast are included. Ages 4-10. (Sept.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
PreS-Gr 3-Oodles of dancing skeletons have returned to celebrate the Dia de los muertos, or the Day of the Dead. They come and they go, all of them happy and intending to have a good time. The simple, rhythmic text (definitely catchier in Spanish than in English) mimics the meter of a dance, and San Vicente's b&w artwork with touches of warm color look slightly shivery. The book concludes with information on the Day of the Dead, along with instructions for making "pan de muertos" (the special bread made on the Day of the Dead), "calaveras de azucar" ("sugar skulls"), "papel picado" ("paper cut-outs"), and an altar. This book will be a hot pick for library or home reading around that holiday and Halloween.
—Ann Welton, Grant Center for the Expressive Arts, Tacoma, WA Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780938317678
  • Publisher: Cinco Puntos Press
  • Publication date: 9/1/2002
  • Language: Spanish
  • Edition description: Bilingual
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 1,450,881
  • Age range: 5 - 10 Years
  • Lexile: AD900L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 7.40 (w) x 7.40 (h) x 0.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Poet, essayist and publisher, Bobby Byrd, with his wife Lee, recently received the Lannan Fellowship for Cultural Freedom. Benjamin Alire Sáenz is a novelist, poet, essayist and writer of children's books. He has received the Wallace Stegner Fellowship, the Lannan Fellowship and an American Book Award. He teaches at the University of Texas at El Paso, and considers himself a fronterizo, a person of the border.
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