Thursday, June 16, 2016

Book Review: Macaco y Anton

A Fair Trade Book

Title: Macaco y Antón

Author: Alfredo Gómez Cerdá

Author's web site:

Date: 1986 

Publisher: Ediciones S.M. (El Barco de Vapor)

ISBN: 84-348-2034-X

Length: 62 pages

Illustrations: colorful drawings by Margarita Menéndez

Quote: “A continuación llevarán diez millones de aspirinas al hospital…¡Pero antes limpien bien los vagones! Estarán llenos de hollín.”

Macaco and Antón are childhood friends who always wanted to work on a freight train, and now they do. They enjoy their job, even though the things they’re ordered to load, deliver, and clean out of the train become increasingly impossible. From a load of coal to the load of aspirin mentioned above (“But clean the cars thoroughly! They’ll be full of soot!”) our heroes proceed to haul kangaroos to all the zoos, cauliflower for the Society of Friends of the Cauliflower, clouds, snow, and fighting bulls. How long can they keep up with their ridiculous job?

How our heroes learn to manage their responsibilities may not be the lesson every parent or teacher wants to share with every child reader. Perhaps Macaco y Antón wasn’t written for children in the first place. Possibly it was written for stressed-out students in first year Spanish classes in high school or college. That seems the audience most likely to need the “moral” of this story.

Anyway it’s an amusing little picture book, and I had fun designing a doll outfit that fits in with the spirit of Menéndez’s illustrations. Unlike some foreign books for children I've been able to resell, this one is fairly widely available in the U.S. (in more than one edition!) and won't cost more than most books you can buy here: To buy the copy I own, with the doll, send $20 to either address at the bottom of the screen. To buy this book, and/or other popular books by Gomez Cerda or other authors living or dead, send $5 per book + $5 per package. 

(Notice that Blogger software shows the accented characters in sections of the text pasted in from Word, but not in sections added directly to the Blogspot after checking the information online. Computers...y'gotta love'em...)

Alfredo Gomez Cerda is a living author, recently in the news for discussing Masculinity in Children's Books. If you're looking for more books in Spanish I recommend checking out his recent doings at his web site, although it's just a bit too flashy and visual to appeal to me. That makes Macaco y Anton a Fair Trade Book, so when you buy it or other books by the same author from this web site, we send Gomez Cerda or a charity of his choice $1 per book.