The White Ravens Database

Presented by   Internationale Jugendbibliothek / International Youth Library

Spanish / Argentina

El alumno nuevo

(The new classmate)

De Santis, Pablo (text)
Turdera, Cristian (illus.)
Buenos Aires: Calibroscopio, 2021. – [34] p.
ISBN 978-987-3967-49-8
(Text first published in “Trasnoche”, Buenos Aires: Loqueleo Ed. Santillana, 2016)

School  | Automaton  | Android  | Perfection  | Picture book

Reading age: 8+

White Ravens issue: 2021


Pablo De Santis is known for stories and novels that combine fantasy, mystery and horror. Here, too, the author lets the creepy sneak into the normal and the everyday. A new student joins the class of the first-person narrator. Well-behaved, flawless, immaculately dressed, reticent and unapproachable, he seems at once attractive and repellent. The narrator accidentally discovers her new classmate is a cleverly constructed robot made by his “father”. Soon thereafter the boy vanishes, only resurfacing many years later – as a student in the protagonist’s class, now herself a teacher. Only now does she learn of the tragic existence of this perfect student who had to learn how not to be perfect so he wouldn’t stand out among human beings. The story, surely a reference to Olimpia the doll in E. T. A Hoffmann’s “The Sandman”, is congenially illustrated by Cristian Turdera. The lifeless, constructed artificiality of the characters and spaces recall puppet theatre and mechanical toys. [JW]