cover image Abuelos


Pat Mora, , illus. by Amelia Lau Carling. . Groundwood, $18.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-88899-716-6

Mora (The Night the Moon Fell/ La noche que se cayó la luna ) introduces the intriguing midwinter New Mexican festival of “los abuelos” in this playful tale. The narrator, Amelia, is about to experience the spooky-sounding tradition for the first time, and Papá offers reassurances. “The sooty, hairy abuelos [in this case, old mountain men] come down to make sure all the children are behaving.... You know how Halloween is scary and fun? So is the coming of the abuelos.” Played by costumed villagers in scary masks, the abuelos chase the children around bonfires; when one snatches her brother, Amelia grabs the abuelo’s mask, only to discover her uncle beneath it. Carling’s (Mama and Papa Have a Store/ La tienda de Mamá y Papá ) watercolor and pastel illustrations impart Amelia’s apprehension as well as family togetherness. The shadowy mountains surrounding her town are drawn to look like howling ghosts in early blue-hued spreads, while a warm yellow dominates scenes of the concluding fiesta. Ages 4–7. (Oct.)