El Chupacabras by Adam Rubin & Crash McCreery
El Chupacabras: A Bilingual Tale of the Legendary Creature
by Adam Rubin & Crash McCreery
Purchased with grant funding for my library
While the cryptid known as the chupacabra was (only) first sighted in 1995 in Puerto Rico, Adam Rubin & Crash McCreery give him a little history, setting their story a long time ago. Their story opens on a lonely goat farm, the church spires of a distant village seen at the foothills of a dusty mountain range. Rubin, who was inspired by his Cuban grandmother to write this story, does something novel and excitingly brilliant that I have never seen in a bilingual book. After every comma, Rubin switches languages, and after a period, he repeats himself, translating the previous sentence. The story begins,
This all happened a long time ago, en una granja de cabras. Todo esto occurió hace mucho tiempo, on a goat farm.
I remember a little bit of my college Spanish and my pronunciation isn't too bad, so I really enjoyed the back and forth of the story. Rubin's teeter-tottering of languages is matched with a balance of humor and seriousness in his story, which finds a father and daughter living on a farm. Hector loves his goats, singing to them, brushing their coats and making sure they are fat and happy. But, his daughter Carla prefers bicycles and is first seen working on hers, a goat nosing around in her toolbox.
A noise in the night and all but one of a herd of frightened goats up a tree send Carla off on her bicycle looking for the missing goat and finds, "una torta de cabra," a goat pancake. McCreery's goats, with their bulgy eyes, get a laugh on every pages. Holding his goat pancake, sorrow and pain on his face, readers see the goat nibbling the handkerchief out of Hector's pocket. Hector is sure that the culprit is the terrifying beast, El Chupacabras, and he knows he must takes action.
Meanwhile, readers get a peek at El Chupacabras, a "tiny gentleman" who wears a monocle and a bow tie and drinks chocolate with churros - except occasionally he liked to "suck a goat." Hector gets little magic dust from a flower seller (who, among her beautiful, colorful wares also has a mason jar with a giant eyeball floating in it hanging off her flower cart) and promptly misuses it. Gozilla-sized goats begin destroying everything in their path, including the church in the nearby village as Carla rides off to save the day. With the help of El Chupacabras and Carla's bicycle, they get the goats shrunk back to size. And, when the goat-sucker flattens another goat, Carla's bicycle pump comes in handy...