Los tres cabritos is Eric Kimmel’s Tex-Mex take on the traditional story of the Three Billy Goats Gruff. In this story, Chupacabra, the “goat sucker,” a monster traditionally found in Puerto Rico but also part of folklore in other Hispanic communities, lives under the bridge across the Rio Grande which the three goats want to use to cross into Mexico.
Each goat tells Chupacabra to wait for his older brother, as in the Scandinavian tale, but each goat also plays music for Chupacabra to dance to. The oldest brother, however, can make the monster dance with his music. The biggest brother plays his accordion till Chupacabra ends up exhausted, like a punctured balloon, and the goats all get safely into Mexico.
The book is in Spanish, so it’s a great choice for Spanish language classes.
Here are some cross-curricular activities for this book:
- Use a Venn diagram to compare this book with Three Billy Goats Gruff.
- The three main musical instruments in the story are the violin, the guitar, and the accordion. A harmonica is also pictured in the book, when the narrator says he always packs his harmonica when heading to Mexico. Bring the instruments or pictures of them to class. Compare them and put them in order by size. Sort them by the way the sound is made: the violin and the guitar are stringed instruments, while the accordion and harmonica are free reed wind instruments.
- Chupacabra is a traditional monster. Use some of the ideas from our Monster classroom theme to study this creature, or check out the student project page, Chupacabra Home Page.
- The cabriots had a fine time in Mexico, and were never again afraid of Chupacabra, “or so they said,” according to the story. The narrator, however, always makes sure to pack his harmonica, just in case. Ask students to finish the sentence, “I always make sure to pack my ___________ when I go to __________, just in case.” Have students illustrate their sentences. Challenge older students to write a story, using their sentence as the final sentence of the story.
- There is a pinata in the illustrations of the book. Why not make and/or play with a pinata in your class?