In order to escape the problems of big city life in Asunción, Paraguay, the Ayala family moves to a village in the beautiful Paraguayan countryside looking for a simpler life. But not everything is so simple here. Deep in the forests of Paraguay lives a creature known as the Pombero. According to the Guaraní (Paraguay’s indigenous people) legend, the Pombero is the protector of the forest and the animals within it. If you respect him and his forest and make offerings to him, he might help you. However, if you don’t… strange things will begin to happen to you and your loved ones. Will the Ayala family learn this before it’s too late?
Set in a rural village in Paraguay, known as the Heart of South America, and filled with cultural references; El Pombero has 240 unique words and numerous cognates. Written in the present tense and with dramatic illustrations on every page, El Pombero is a compelling and comprehensible novel for Novice level readers and above.
Inside: Why you need the novel El Pombero – una leyenda paraguya from Spanish Cuentos in your free reading library.
If you have been reading here for a while, you should know that I LOVE all books from mi amigo Craig, aka Spanish Cuentos. I have used his novels Peter va a Colombia and El silbón de Venezuela as full class novels in level 1 and students often say his books were the favorite reads of the year. I have all of his books in my free reading library and have reviewed the following in past libro lunes posts: El Gorila Blanco, El Ratón Pablito, La famila de Federico Rico, La Piñata de Renata & ¡Papacito!. This fellow Iowan’s books are always a hit during free reading, and if you are looking to implement FVR in your class, make sure to check out the game changer for implementing FVR. In additional this summer I brought home his books and have been reading a few chapters a night to my own five year old. He LOVES them, especially those with pictures to help his novice comprehension.
His newest book, which is the focus of this post is El Pombero. You can buy is here directly from Spanish Cuentos for the best deal, or can get it from Amazon below if that is easier with Prime.
To see many of my classroom library recommendations all in one place, you can visit My Amazon Store book list!
Here is the description from Spanish Cuentos.
If you and your students loved the graphic novel styles of ¡Papacito!, they will love El Pombero. I personally love that it is both a full story line, but with the pictures of a graphic novel. Each page has multiple full illustrations, which really helps to aid in the comprehensible input. There is also a full glossary and limited word count. I think it would be perfect for early Spanish 2 and beyond as a full class reader. Middle school and up would enjoy would enjoy it for free reading. While all of his other books are perfect for elementary, parts of the legend in this book might be too scary and mature for those below middle school.
I love culture rich readers, and this one is centered on culture. The book is set in both city and countryside in Paraguay with rich elements of Paraguay interwoven naturally in the book. There are so many opportunities for cultural exploration on topics such as guarani, foods and drinks including chipa fresca and terere, animals and plants of Paraguay, the legend of El Pombero and more. This book would fit well with units on family, legends, animals, or South America.
The book is action packed and I think students would want to read it quickly in the style of 1 novel in 1 week or for free reading. The storyline moves quickly and the reader will want to know what happens next right away. Overall, I can not wait until it is my turn for curriculum funds so I can get a class set of this novel. El Pombero is a must have book for your free reading library in Spanish!
While Craig sent me copies of this novel, all opinions are my own!