April 27, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Just In Time for Día de los Muertos: The “Little Skeletons” | Touch and Go

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Just in time for upcoming Day of the Dead/Día de los Muertos celebrations, Encantos Media Studios has released a version of the classic song, “Los Esqueletos Salen de la Tumba”/”The Skeletons Come out of the Tomb” in Little Skeletons-Esqueletitos (iOS, Free; Android, Free; PreS-K), a bilingual app based on Susie Jaramillo’s book Little Skeletons Countdown to Midnight/Esqueletitos un libro contar en El Día de los Muertos (2017).

As the clock strikes each hour, the cherry, animated skeletitos and friends spring into action: “When the old clock strikes the hour of one, out of the tomb–a skeletitos rumba” (and later, eat up their food, shake up their spines, etc.). Between hours, a jaunty refrain is repeated: “Tomb-a-laca tomb-a-laca tomb-a tomb-a, tomb-a-laca tomb-a-laca tomb-a-la.”

The app version offers “Sing to me,” “Read to me,” and “Read to Myself” options in Spanish and English in a variety of voices. In the read along modes, the text is highlighted as it is read, while the “Sing to me” modes feature a infectious version of the song accompanied by music. As they sing along younger viewers will get in a little counting experience, while older children can practice telling time.

The black-and-white illustrations are reminiscent of the calavera woodcut prints by José Guadalupe Posada (1851–1913) ubiquitous during Day of the Dead festivities in Mexico. Bold touches of color are added to directional arrows and highlighted text. ­VERDICT A simple text, delightful animations, and lively music will make this concept and holiday app a favorite all year round.—Daryl Grabarek, School Library Journal

Screen from Little Skeletons-Esqueletitos (Encantos Media)

For additional app reviews, visit School Library Journal‘s dedicated app webpage.
Daryl Grabarek About Daryl Grabarek

Daryl Grabarek dgrabarek@mediasourceinc.com is the editor of School Library Journal's monthly enewsletter, Curriculum Connections, and its online column Touch and Go. Before coming to SLJ, she held librarian positions in private, school, public, and college libraries. Her dream is to manage a collection on a remote island in the South Pacific.

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