La calaca alegre

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Ever since his mother disappeared without a trace, Carlos has suffered from the same nightmare every night: He is 7 years old, his mother is leaving for a party and he can't stop her from leaving. Every night, Carlos wakes up screaming. And that is not all: at daytime, he often feels like there is someone with him.

The psychologists think these are the effects of a post traumatic stress disorder, but Carlos suspect that his mother is trying to contact him. And now that he is seventeen, his grandmother can't prevent him anymore from going to Chicago, where he grew up. Carlos wants to find answers. He wants to visit the restaurant where his mother was supposed to go on the night she disappeared.

The restaurant is called La Calaca Alegre ('The Happy Skull') and seems a normal enough place. But Carlos soon finds out that there is something strange about the restaurant. The closer he gets to the gruesome showdown, the more his own life is in danger. Was it such a good idea to go and explore all by himself?


"I found this a really scary story. I like it when a story has a slight supernatural touch to it, like this novel, especially when after you finished reading you still don't know whether it was true or not."


Information for teachers

The story takes place in the Mexican community in Chicago, which allowed the author to include several aspects of the Mexican culture in the US, like the murals by famous Mexican artists, Mexican dishes and family life.

The story is told in the past tense, with several instances of subjunctive and past perfect. There are lots of dialogues, and some action packed scenes that are perfect for acting out in the classroom. There is also a teacher's guide available for this novel, that offers a treasure of ideas, lesson plans and activities for exploring the cultural, social and language aspects of the story.

Class set

Would you like to order a class set? We give you a 10% discount for 20 or more copies of the same title. Please, order the novels via e-mail. Due to our relatively small stock numbers, we advise you to order timely. Delivery time may take up to 2-3 weeks.

Author: Carrie Toth
Year of publication: 2013
Number of pages: 77 (plus glossary)
ISBN: 978-1-935575-90-0
Illustrated: Yes
| jeannette 07-09-2018 11:22

Een genuanceerd geschreven boek. Zowel droevig als griezelig; het verhaal wordt duidelijk verteld. Veel woorden worden herhaald en verschillende werkwoordsvormen van het Spaans komen erin voor.

5 stars based on 1 reviews
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