From School Library Journal
PreSchool-Grade 3–An original retelling of The Three Billy Goats Gruff, with a Texas twist. Despite their mama's warnings about Chupacabra (goat-sucker), the monster that lives under the bridge, three cabritos (young goats) are determined to cross the Rio Grande to play music at a fiesta in Mexico. The smallest sibling reaches the crossing first and puts the hungry creature off with the promise of a better meal (his larger brother) and a bit of nervous fiddle playing. Soon, the middle brother arrives with his guitar and makes a similar escape. When the biggest goat approaches the bridge, he requests that he be allowed to play his accordion one last time before being gobbled up. Chupacabra agrees, but soon discovers that the instrument is magic: he must keep dancing until the music stops. Exhausted, he shrivels up into a husk as dry and brittle as a dead cactus. Kimmel builds to this humorous climax throughout the tale. The light tone is matched by Gilpin's glossy, pastel-hued cartoons. The protagonists are depicted with comically exaggerated features. Unlike the vampire-esque creature of modern urban legend, Chupacabra is shown as a not-too-frightening sky-blue blob. Match this fun variant with other versions of the original, e.g., Paul Galdone's classic (Clarion, 1981); stories set in the Southwest, such as Helen Ketteman's Armadilly Chili (Albert Whitman, 2004); or tales about the power of magic and music, like Pete Seeger's Abiyoyo (S & S, 1994).–Joy Fleishhacker, School Library Journal
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Noted folklorist Kimmel presents his own version of "The Three Billy Goats Gruff." Here the goats (cabritos) are on their way to Mexico for a fiesta across the border. Alas, each in his turn is stopped by Chupacabra, a legendary creature who attacks farm animals. The story follows the familiar form but with a decidedly Spanish-flavored bent, including Spanish words (defined in the glossary). In Kimmell's telling, it is the eldest brother who conquers the monster, not through might but by playing the accordion. (His accordion is a magical instrument, and it makes the chupacabra dance until he bursts.) The story moves briskly, but the fat, blue chupacabra is far from frightening, looking more like a Macy's holiday balloon than anything that would scary a hardy goat. Recommended for larger libraries or those serving Hispanic communities. Cooper, Ilene