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Book Review: Young boy faces down el cucuy to discover his own bravery

By Martha Rico

In the tale,The Cucuy Stole my Cascarones/ El Coco me robo los cascarones, by Spelile Rivas, the author taps two well-known cultural elements — cascarones and el cucuy — to produce an enjoyable bilingual tale. The story is about a young boy named Roberto who must be brave and find out what happened to the missing confetti-filled eggs, known as cascarones, that his mother made for his birthday party.

He has an idea about where the missing items may be — with the cucuy or boogeyman.

Roberto goes around the neighborhood asking about them, only to find out that Señora Zamora is missing tamales, Señorita Margarita is missing a boogeyman birthday cake and Señor Salvador is missing a monster piñata.

With his mother’s words echoing in his mind, “You can do anything if you are brave,” Roberto successfully finds the missing items and receives a nice surprise at the same time.

Readers will enjoy hearing about el Cucuy, a traditional character in Spanish-speaking countries, and his latest antics. They will root for Roberto and cheer along with him when the tale comes to an end.

For older children, this light-hearted and not-so-scary version of el Cucuy can be paired with Joe Hayes’ more serious El Cucuy: A Bogeyman Cuento in English and Spanish. The illustrations in The Cucuy Stole My Cascasores/El Coco me robó los cascarones are bright and cheerful and the illustrator fabulously conveys the emotions the characters are feeling throughout the story.

LatinaLista contributor Martha Rico is an elementary school librarian for the El Paso Independent School District.

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