Calavera Abecedario

written and illustrated by Jeanette Winter

Don Pedro and his family make papier-mâché skeletons, or calaveras, for Mexico's Day of the Dead fiesta. Come and dance with special calavera for each letter of the alphabet.

Jaunty illustrations inspired by Mexican folk art and a short story about preparations for the Day of the Dead are included within this alphabet book based on the Spanish alphabet. The heart of the book is the artwork: vivid pastel clothing and scenery set against shiny black backgrounds and complemented by the bright white of the skeletons that form an integral part of the Mexican and Mexican-American celebrations. Skeletal characters in the alphabet portion of the book include ángel (angel) and bruja (witch), Kahlo (as in Frida, the artist), and zapatero (shoemaker). While the glossary is helpful, the illustrations offer plenty of clues as to what each word means. The story concerns the family of Don Pedro, three generations of which join in the yearlong making of the papier-mâché skeletons for the fiestas in early November. An author's note includes information about the real Don Pedro, whose life inspired her book. This is a lovely book that approaches the Day of the Dead from an unusual angle, reflecting not only the close family ties common to Mexican life but also the non-"devilish" nature of the celebrations.

G is for granjero (farmer)
P is for pescadora (fishmonger)
X is for xilofonista (xylophone)