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Friday, August 10, 2012

Review: Los Gatos Black on Halloween

Los Gatos Black on Halloween by Marisa Montes
Illustrated by Yuyi Morales

This is a Halloween story about las brujas, los esqueletos, and monsters that go about on Halloween night. The monsters and creatures of the night are all making their way to a big ball at the haunted house but they get the biggest scare when the scariest creatures on Halloween night come around and you will be shocked who shows up!

The author seamlessly intertwines Spanish words into the text and it reads beautifully because it is all rhyming as well. She uses the other words in the sentence and the surrounding sentences to help the reader get the meaning of the Spanish word.
October's luna, full and bright,
The fall moon lights a vampire's bite.
Even if you didn't know the definition of luna, from looking at the context clues, you could conclude that luna is moon.

Howling perros!
The illustrations are immensely helpful in doing that as well. When "los perros howl," the dogs are howling in the illustrations. All of the pages are full bleed, two page spreads. The colors are dark and spooky, because it's Halloween! There are not any straight lines in the illustrations. Even the witches' brooms and the railings aren't straight. I think this helps to illustrate how everything is spooky and crazy!

The Halloween Ball!
One thing I was concerned about when reading this book is that there is no help in the pronunciation of the Spanish words within the text. If you look in the back of the book, there is a Glossary section which lists the Spanish words, pronunciation, and the definition. But if you're just reading the book, it would be annoying to have to keep flipping back and forth. It is very appropriate to have a Glossary in the back of this book, especially if non-Spanish speaking children will be reading it.

This book won the Pura Belpré Honor for Marisa Montes' writing as well as the Pura Belpré Medal for Yuyi Morales' illustrations in 2008. The Pura Belpré Award is presented to a Latino/Latina writer and illustrator whose work best portrays, affirms, and celebrates the Latino cultural experience in an outstanding work of literature for children and youth.

Yuyi Morales has also won quite a few other Pura Belpré Awards since it was established. Just In Case: A Trickster Tale and Spanish Alphabet Book written and illustrated by Yuyi Morales won the Pura Belpré Medal for her illustrations and Pura Belpré Honor for her narrative in 2009. Just A Minute!: A Trickster Tale and Counting Book written and illustrated by Yuyi Morales won the Pura Belpré Medal for her illustrations in 2004.

Since I have had a black cat almost all of my life, I wanted to know why people were so superstitious about them! Check out this website to see some funny superstitions different cultures have about black cats. Some cultures see black cats as good luck, while some think black cats will share their personal gossip! But I think our little black kitties are the best!! No bad luck from BJ. :) (As I write this, BJ is laying next to me glaring at me because my typing is disturbing his sleeping though...)

Check out my other blog post, Moonlight: The Halloween Cat by Cynthia Rylant for a less scary Halloween cat book for children!

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