Mi familia calaca / My Skeleton Family

by Cynthia Weill and Jesus Canseco Zarate

A girl named Anita introduces each member of her family in a picture book with a... read more

A girl named Anita introduces each member of her family in a picture book with a simple, bilingual narrative. Her family members include her brothers Miguel ("He's a brat. / Él es muy travieso.") and Juanito ("He's so cute! / Él es tan lindo."), her parents, grandparents, and great-grandmother. Even the dog and cat get a nod. What makes this book stand out is the juxtaposition of the straightforward text with its whimsical illustrations. Paper-mache artist Jesás Canseco Zárate has rendered each character as a skeleton, although Anita never mentions this unusual fact about her family. A brief note at book's end explains, "In Mexico the skeleton is a beloved and humorous figure. Its origins go back to pre-Columbian times." And this is a book that will surely bring smiles, especially with the care Zárate has taken with details, such as the yellow duck on baby Juanito's romper, Anita's flowered dress, the father's natty hat, and great-grandmother's walker, to name a few. (Ages 4-7)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2014

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