The White Ravens Database

Presented by   Internationale Jugendbibliothek / International Youth Library

Spanish / Spain

Hay que salvar a Carmelo

(We must rescue Carmelo)

Sánchez Aguilar, Agustín (text)
Díaz, Alberto (illus.)
Madrid: Anaya, 2021. – 133 p.
ISBN 978-84-698-8888-9

Pig  | Present  | Letter

Reading age: 8+

White Ravens issue: 2022


Epistolary novels are an exotic format in children’s literature. »Hay que salvar a Carmelo« is a superb example of this rare genre. In this novel, there is one letter-writer, a boy named Valentín, and three addresses: the Three Wise Men, who, in Spain, traditionally deliver presents to children on 6 January. Valentín has wished for a toy, a stuffed pig, but instead he has received a real pig. It weighs 100 kilograms, is called Carmelo, and soon turns the life of the boy and his mother topsy-turvy. Valentín is stumped and stressed, so in his desperation he writes letters to the Three Wise Men, asking them to come and retrieve the pig. One letter after the other. All in vain. Not a word from the wise gentlemen. Valentín must solve the problem alone and, in the end, even save Carmelo from the butcher. Agustín Sánchez Aguilar succeeds magnificently in telling this story from the protagonist’s perspective, with its childlike perception and logic. The book has considerable drive, comedy, and a wealth of witty punchlines. [JW]