The Chupacabra Ate the Candelabra

Marc Tyler Nobleman, illus. by Ana Aranda. Penguin/Paulsen, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-399-17443-8
Nobleman (Boys of Steel) introduces a comic trio—three goats named Pep, Bumsie and Jayna—who debate the best way to handle the goat-eating chupacabra that lurks atop a nearby hill. Jayna, the bravest, proposes a pre-emptive attack: “There’s lots of us and only one of him.” Bumsie is anxiety-ridden: “W-what does the chupacabra eat for b-breakfast?” (“Goats,” Jayna replies.) And Pep’s a realist: “No veggies?” They meet the monster soon enough, and though they succeed in temporarily distracting it with other objects to devour (candelabras! cucarachas!), the moment of truth arrives as the chupacabra reveals its favorite food—which does indeed start with “goat.” References to Latin American food and culture appear throughout (“The whole chimichanga,” says the chupacabra, and Pep corrects, “You mean ‘the whole enchilada’ ”), and debut illustrator Aranda’s vibrant mixed-media artwork amplifies the book’s cross-cultural brand of humor; her chupacabra, with its beady nose, spiky purple ears, and lovely flowered hide, wouldn’t threaten a cat (although it throws a scary shadow). Readers will be sorry when this one is over. Ages 5–8. Illustrator’s agent: Adriana Domínguez, Full Circle Literary. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 01/16/2017
Release date: 03/07/2017
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