Calavera Abecedario: A Day of the Dead Alphabet Book

by Jeanette Winter

Hardcover, 2004



Local notes

394.2 Win



Harcourt Children's Books (2004), Edition: 1, 48 pages


Every year Don Pedro and his family make papier-mâché skeletons, or calaveras, for Mexico's Day of the Dead fiesta. From the Angel andDoctor to the Mariachi andUnicornio, there's a special calaverafor each letter of the alphabet. Come dance with them! Includes a glossary of Spanish words and an author's note.

Original language


Physical description

48 p.; 8 inches


0152051104 / 9780152051105



User reviews

LibraryThing member lilithcat
Yet another abecedarium for the collection. This one begins with the story of a family in Mexico that makes calaveras, images of skeletons for el Día de los Muertos. Then comes the alphabet. What's more fun is that the names of the images are in Spanish (so we have bruja and granjero and químico), but each is illustrated in a way that makes the meaning of the word clear. The last illustration is all the images dancing together!… (more)
LibraryThing member kikione
A Mexican family continues the family tradition of making calaveras (skeletons) for the Day of the Dead celebration. They create skeletons for each letter of the alphabet. There is a front story about the family and a glossary that explains the Spanish vocabulary.
LibraryThing member olivegreen1
Wonderfully simple and colorful illustrations mark this ABC book. The theme is Day of the Dead and their are a few pages in the front that explain the holiday. A totally charming book.
LibraryThing member Madams21
I loved the brightly colored illustrations in this book that matched the types of colors you would expect to see in Mexican illustrations. I liked that the book described the process used to make the skeletons, how the mother cut hair from the cat’s tail to make paint brushes to decorate the skeletons. I also liked the way the illustrations had the skeletons posed to look like they were dancing because the Day of the Dead is a festival. I liked how the skeletons were portrayed doing an activity that gave a solid clue to what the Mexican word meant and that in the back of the book was the listed Mexican words with their English translations. The theme of the book (big idea), was to use a popular Mexican festival to teach children the alphabet.… (more)
LibraryThing member nlinco1
Overall I think this is a very good book. This is an informational book that is semi-bilingual meaning that not all of the English text is translated into Spanish. It is about the celebration of the Day of the Dead in Mexico City. The book tells the story of a family that makes skeletons for the celebrations. Each skeleton in the book is featured on its own page and is representing a particular occupation which is labeled at the bottom in Spanish. Since the meaning the comprehension of the words rely heavily on the pictures I thought that some of the illustrations could have been more specific and detailed. For example, there was a skeleton throwing seeds on the ground which at first made me think it was a gardener but a couple pages late there was a skeleton watering flowers which created a little confusion. I did like that this book has a glossary though because I was able to go to the back and look up the English version of a word.
I also liked this book because there is a narrative with a beginning, middle, and end which makes an informational book more captivating to the reader. I was able to connect with the characters and understand the importance of family and tradition in their culture. This is one example of where the author portrayed this idea, “The fiesta is coming soon. Fathers and sons and grandsons work into the night. The calaveras must be ready to dance on el Dia de los Muertos.”
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LibraryThing member fmccas1
Calavera Abecedario is a book written in English with a few Spanish words. It is a helpful book for learning the alphabet. Every letter is shown with a picture as well as a word. All of the words are related to the holiday "Day of the Dead". This book puts a fun spin on learning the alphabet and can be very helpful to younger children. the big idea of this book is to teach children their A,B,C's.… (more)
LibraryThing member AbigailAdams26
Opening in the home of Don Pedro, a Mexican artist who makes the papier-mâché skeletons, or calaveras, used in Day of the Dead celebrations, this engaging picture-book offers a brief exploration of how these figures are created, and then uses them to present twenty-six alphabetical scenes. Although the words profiled are in Spanish, the accompanying (skeletal) illustrations making the meaning plain, but if the reader is still confused, there is a glossary at the rear...

Having read many of author/artist Jeanette Winter's picture-books, I fully expected to enjoy the illustrations in Calavera Abecedario: A Day of the Dead Alphabet Book, and I was not disappointed. Vibrantly colorful, with bold hues and spooky skeletons, it is a visual treat. I appreciated that Winter profiled Don Pedro Linares in her framing story, as he was a real-life artist whose calaveras were famous throughout Mexico. The alphabet-book aspect of this title is also well done, with the artwork (as mentioned above) making meaning plain, even for readers who have no Spanish. Recommended to anyone looking for spooky alphabet books, as well as to those searching for picture-books for Day of the Dead.
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(16 ratings; 4.1)
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