El Chupacabras

Written by Adam Rubin

Illustrated by Crash McCreery

Readers Theater

Book Trailer

Author/Illustrator Interview

Author Read Aloud

Informational Resources:

Author Information:

Adam Rubin biography: https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/authors/227133/adam-rubin

Illustrator Information:

Crash McCreery on Craftsmanship (3:19): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dGclpsEYHtU

Activities & Resources:


Food and recipes:

Churro recipe:


Hot Chocolate recipe:


Have a taste test with churros and melted chocolate. Cut churros into bite sized pieces and have students use their very best table manners to eat the way El Chupacabras is shown eating in the story.

Fairy Tales:

Have students perform an improv version of different fairy tales. Change three items from the story (e,g. Snow White’s apple into a tissue box; instead of a mirror, a computer). Students then have to keep the storyline while adding in these objects.


Write your own version of the story, making sure to add one piece that is greatly different from El Chupacabras. Use an app such as ChatterPix to record your version to share with others.

Have students use the titles from a stack of library books to create a poem from the point of view of Carla.

Have students write a sequel to the story. Students work in small groups of 4-5, with each person writing one line. The line must build on previous lines and help develop the story. Have students use a translation app, or enlist a Spanish speaker to help with lines that need to be translated into Spanish.


Recording of story read by Yari (8:15): https://youtu.be/Nz0J4cJaaPE

Learn Spanish for Kids (37:06): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8yuiUvi568I

Pull out a selection of language books from the library and have students choose a language to study basic vocabulary. Give students time and allow them to work in small groups. They will then present to the whole group on basic conversation, colors, furniture, etc.

MakerSpace Activities:

Many question the look of the chupacabra. Use cardboard pieces, markers, and other items from your makerspaces station to create a mask that represents your vision of the chupacabra.

Have different bowls of glitter, confetti, and other small items separated by color and texture.  Name each with a magical ingredient name (i.e., crust of a witch’s toenail, unicorn dandruff, etc.) Give each student a ziploc bag. Have students create their own magical potion to protect the goats from El Chupacabras.

Give students the opportunity to be like the flower lady. Using paper, scissors, and glue, they can create their own flower arrangement. (8:19): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LoqTdq0O1gY

Have students work in a group to create a play version of El Chupacabras or another folk tale. Give students time to practice before presenting to the full group.

Discussion Questions:

What is your favorite fairy tale or folk tale? Explain your reasons for selecting this story.

What did you know about El Chupacabras before reading this book? How does this version of the story differ?

Carla and her father have different interests:  Carla — bicycles; Hector — goats. What is an interest you have and what about it fascinates you?

If you lived on a farm, what type of animals would you like to have? Why?

If your parent had an interest greatly different from yours, would you consider learning more about it and participating with them? Explain your answer.

Do you like the art style of the story? Explain your response, giving an example from the book to support your answer.

What would you do if you heard the suspicious “thhhbbbbttzfffff” in the night?

How would you respond if you were faced with a chupacabra?

Do you feel that the flower lady gave Hector enough information to protect the goats? Why or why not?

How do you think the magic dust would have protected the goats, had Hector used only a little on each? Explain your response.

What would you tell Hector and Carla to do to protect the goats from El Chupacabras?

Carla had a great idea to use her bicycle pump to help out. How would you fix the goat pancake problem?

After reading this story, do you believe that Chupacabras are real? Explain.

Was there a part in the story that made you laugh out loud? Identify that part of the story and explain why you thought this scene was funny.

Do you think the story benefits from being told in a bilingual style? Why or why not?

Who do you feel is the hero of the story? Explain your reasons for selecting this character.

Was Carla approaching the Chupacabras an act of free will or of destiny? Explain, giving an example from the story to support your answer.

What do you think about the author’s storytelling ability?

Do you believe in magic? Explain.

If you could ask Adam Rubin one question about this book, what would it be? Why did you chose that question for the author?

Book Talk Teasers:

Show the TBA book trailer for El Chupacabras on the TBA Youtube website.

Read the reader’s theatre for El Chupacabras.

Read Alikes:

Fairy Tale Animals:

Corderoy, Tracey. Fairy tale pets. When Bob decides to be a pet-sitter, he can’t wait for all the cute hamsters and bunnies to arrive, but when three noisy goats, one very grumpy bear and a troll arrive at the door, it’s fairy-tale chaos! (NoveList K-8)

Meddaugh, Susan. Cinderella’s rat. One of the rats that was turned into a coachman by Cinderella’s fairy godmother tells his story. (NoveList K-8)

Trimmer, Christian. Snow Pony and the seven miniature ponies. In this twist on the story of Snow White, pretty and sweet Snow Pony–beloved by children for her talent in braiding hair and dancing–follows a trail of delicious apples into the woods, where she meets seven miniature ponies. (NoveList K-8)

Fractured Fairy Tales:

Capucilli, Alyssa Satin. Bone soup. In this version of the classic tale, Stone Soup, three witches are looking for a tasty treat on Halloween morning and they find only a small bone in their cupboard. So they decide to go from door to door in their village to find just the right ingredients for their bone soup. (NoveList K-8)

Child, Lauren. Who’s afraid of the big bad book? A boy who loves books but has not always treated them well falls asleep and finds himself in his book of fairy tales, where his interaction with everyone from Goldilocks to Cinderella wreaks havoc. (NoveList K-8)

De Paola, Tomie. Jamie O’Rourke and the big potato. The laziest man in all of Ireland catches a leprechaun, who offers a potato seed instead of a pot of gold for his freedom. (NoveList K-8)

Elya, Susan Middleton. La princesa and the pea. A rhyming twist on a classic fairy tale in which a queen places a pea under a young lady’s mattress to see if she is truly a princess. Incorporates Spanish words and includes a glossary. (NoveList K-8)

Kimmel, Eric A. The three cabritos. Retells, with a southwestern United States setting, the traditional tale about three billy goat brothers who trick a beast that lives under the bridge. (NoveList K-8)

Perl, Erica S. Goatilocks and the three bears. In this version of the classic tale, a hungry goat pays a visit to the home of the three bears. (NoveList K-8)

Traditional Fairy Tales:

Marshall, James. Goldilocks and the three bears. Three bears return home from a walk to find a little girl asleep in baby bear’s bed. (NoveList K-8)


Rubin, Adam and illustrated by Crash McCreery.  El Chupacabras. Dial Books For Young Readers, an imprint of Penguin Young Readers Group, 2018.

School Library Journal (April 1, 2018) 

K-Gr 3-A fabled creature becomes an unexpected hero in this wacky bilingual picture book. Carla and her father Hector live happily on a goat farm surrounded by cacti and mountains. However, the wide-eyed, fearful expression on a number of their goats hints at a looming danger. After one of the goats goes missing, Carla bikes off in search of the bovid, only to find him flat as a tortilla. According to legend, El Chupacabras, or Goat Sucker, is a terrifying creature, but really he is a reptile-like “tiny gentleman,” who wears a monocle, enjoys churros con chocolate, and, yes, the occasional goat. A passing flower peddler offers Hector magic dust for protection, but the plan backfires, and the goats turn into giants. Carla quickly realizes only El Chupacabras can bring the livestock back down to size. Rubin mixes and alternates between English and Spanish text. McCreery’s images enhance and complement Rubin’s offbeat narrative through vivid, realistic illustrations. Shifts from detailed close-ups to expansive scenic panoramas give the book a cinematic feel. VERDICT An intriguing title that firmly establishes a modern Latin American legend into the cryptid canon. Highly recommended.-Jessica Agudelo, New York Public Library © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.  

Reprinted with permission from School Library Journal ©2018