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Calavera Abecedario: A Day of the Dead Alphabet Book
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Calavera Abecedario: A Day of the Dead Alphabet Book

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by Jeanette Winter
 

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Every year Don Pedro and his family make papier-mâché skeletons, or calaveras, for Mexico's Day of the Dead fiesta. From the A ngel and D octor to the M ariachi and U nicornio, there's a special calavera for each letter of the alphabet. Come dance with

Overview

Every year Don Pedro and his family make papier-mâché skeletons, or calaveras, for Mexico's Day of the Dead fiesta. From the A ngel and D octor to the M ariachi and U nicornio, there's a special calavera for each letter of the alphabet. Come dance with them!
Includes a glossary of Spanish words and an author's note.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Visually exciting."—Kirkus Reviews
"This striking celebration of an intriguing tradition will be welcomed by teachers, librarians, and Mexican American families."—Booklist

Publishers Weekly
Jeanette Winter (illustrator of Tony Johnston's Day of the Dead) offers another visual extravaganza set against the Mexican festival in Calavera Abecedario: A Day of the Dead Alphabet Book. The neon bordered artwork begins with Don Pedro, his sons and grandsons constructing the calaveras (skeletons) for the town's celebration. When they take them to market, the calaveras come alive, assuming such roles as "candelera" (candlemaker) and "vaquero" (cowboy). (Sept.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
The traditional Mexican Day of the Dead celebration involves concepts about death unfamiliar to many children, including the comfortable relationship with skeletons. Here Don Pedro and his sons make calaveras, or skeletons, from papier-mâché, and paint them for the celebration over many years. Their sons also join in the work so that the calaveras are ready for the fiesta. Winter then begins her alphabet, portraying in acrylics and pen and naming a skeleton character in Spanish for each letter of the alphabet to join the fun. On black backgrounds with wide brightly colored borders and flat colors she poses a skeleton clothed according to each character named. The angel sits on a pink cloud, the tortilla-maker has stacks of tortillas, the hat-maker hats, the shoemaker shoes; a witch stirs a black pot over a fire. Sharply defined shapes in crisply designed layouts are informative, while light-hearted enough to provoke lively responses. Note the difference between the jacket and the cover. A note tells us that the family shown making the calaveras in the beginning is based on real people. It also adds information on Mexican fiestas. There is also an alphabet glossary of the Spanish. Compare the skeletons with those in Richard Keep's Clatter Bash! A Day of the Dead Celebration (Peachtree, 2004). 2004, Harcourt, Ages 3 to 8.
—Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
K-Gr 4-A title that features jaunty illustrations inspired by Mexican folk art and a short story about preparations for the Day of the Dead that includes within it an alphabet book based on the Spanish alphabet. The heart of the book is the artwork: vivid pastel clothing and scenery set against shiny black backgrounds and complemented by the bright white of the skeletons that form an integral part of the Mexican and Mexican-American celebrations. Skeletal characters in the alphabet portion of the book include ngel (angel) and bruja (witch), Kahlo (as in Frida, about whom Winter has written), and zapatero (shoemaker). While the glossary is helpful, the illustrations offer plenty of clues as to what each word means. The story that surrounds the alphabet concerns the family of Don Pedro, three generations of which join in the yearlong making of the papier-mache skeletons for the fiestas in early November. An author's note includes information about the real Don Pedro, whose life inspired her book. This is a lovely book that approaches the Day of the Dead from an unusual angle, reflecting not only the close family ties common to Mexican life but also the non-"devilish" nature of the celebrations.-Coop Renner, Hillside Elementary, El Paso, TX Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
This visually exciting alphabet book makes a fine companion to Winter's Day of the Dead (1997). Boldly colored borders frame the brilliant-hued folk-like images and vivid white text superimposed on a black background. First she tells of a Mexico City family preparing the papier-mache skeletons (calaveras) for annual Day of the Dead celebrations as they have for several generations. The alphabet portion includes an array of charming skeletons in various poses, including an angel, a witch (bruja), bride and bridegroom (novia and novio), mariachi, and zapatero (shoemaker). The letter K is represented by Frida Kahlo, Y by a yucca, and W, which doesn't exist in Spanish, is pushed off the page. An alphabet glossary notes differences between the Spanish and English alphabets and provides English translations of the Spanish words. An author's note discusses Mexican fiestas and Don Pedro Linares, whose life inspired the story. (glossary) (Picture book. 3-7)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780152059064
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
09/01/2006
Edition description:
First Edition
Pages:
48
Sales rank:
831,203
Product dimensions:
8.00(w) x 9.25(h) x 0.11(d)
Age Range:
4 - 7 Years

Meet the Author

JEANETTE WINTER has written and illustrated many books for children, including My Name Is Georgia and Josefina. She lives in New York City.

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Calavera Abecedario: A Day of the Dead Alphabet Book 2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The pages of the book are small with the text below it. I was really disappointed overall with this book. I wouldn't recommend it.