November 17, 2017

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Little Skeletons Countdown to Midnight/Esqueletitos un libro contar en El Día de los Muertos by Susie Jaramillo | SLJ Review

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redstarJARAMILLO, Susie. Little Skeletons Countdown to Midnight/Esqueletitos un libro contar en El Día de los Muertos. illus. by Susie Jaramillo. 40p. (Canticos). Encantos. Aug. 2017. Board $14.99. ISBN 9781945635069. BL

PreS-Gr 1 –Children can practice their numbers while singing and dancing with a delightful group of skeletons. In her now trademark bilingual concertina format, Jaramillo introduces children to a Mexican counting song. A clock with movable hands at the start of the book will help them keep track of the graveyard fun. As the clock moves from one to two to three and eventually to 12, the graveyard inhabitants participate in different activities rhyming with the corresponding number: “When the old clock strikes the hour of five/five skeletitos jump up and jive.” The recurring refrain in Spanish (“Tumba-laca tumba-laca tumba tumba,/tumba-laca tumba-laca tumba-la”) is a clever play on the Spanish word for tomb, tumba, and the Mexican word for skeleton, calaca. The English translation is just as effective, playing with the word tomb. Readers familiar with other books in the series will recognize some of the characters, only this time in friendly skeleton shapes, the illustrations all in black-and-white as befits the theme of the song. Observant readers will discover a surprise bonus: the cover glows in the dark! ­VERDICT Use this for a Day of the Dead storytime program, but do not limit it to that—it’s too much fun!–­Lucia Acosta, Children’s ­Literature ­Specialist, NJ

This review was published in the School Library Journal September 2017 issue.

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