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<< Back to The Festival of Bones / El festival de las calaveras

The Festival of Bones / El festival de las calaveras

The Bulletin of the Center for a Children's Books

"The Day of the Dead, the cheerfully macabre Mexican holiday of remembrance, receives a breezy poetic and visual treatment in this compact volume. Gleeful rhythmic and occasionally rhyming verse in English and Spanish detail the peregrinations of the skeletons ('They are coming and they are going\ And you see them passing by') and their enjoyment of the festivities ('Although half a leg is really gone\Still a flower sits upon his head'). Though several explanatory pages (including instructions for making alters, pan de muerto, and sugar skulls) are appended to this posthumous pageantry, this is a far cry from the decorative taxidermy of many texts on holidays; instead, this evokes the spirit of the Festival in the way that kids will appreciate. The pictures are so diverting that such concerns may be forgotten however: jovial blank-eyed skeletons in fancy dress are ethereal yet solid, formed from a white line crosshatch that sometimes suggests lace and sometimes wood grain. The odd bit of collage and tidy little borders (in bone, of course) add texture and structure, while the earth tone colors are enlivened with the occasional splash of sky blue."

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