Wednesday, October 11, 2006

review: Los Gatos Black on Halloween

Los Gatos Black on Halloween by Marisa Montes. Illustrated by
Yuyi Morales. Henry Holt, 2006 (0-8050-7429-5) $16.95

Embedded Spanish words in a spooky English verse offers readers an essential Halloween vocabulary, as los esqueletos rattle bones, los fantasmas drag their chains and las brujas guide their broomsticks. All of the awakened creatures of the night are on their way to a monstrous ball; the purposeful progression of the sometimes truly frightening creatures and the complex, murky illustrations successfully build up a chilling mood, but the familiar ending, in which all of los monstruous are scared away by trick-or-treating kids, seems anticlimactic. Although this is primarily Halloween as celebrated by kids in the U.S., visual allusions to Spanish culture give the book a richer polish. (6-10)