Publication Date: October 3, 2023
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Ages 8 to 12, Grades 3 to 7
Ghost Squad meets The Jumbies in Mari and the Curse of El Cocodrilo, a middle grade novel by Pura Belpré Honor author Adrianna Cuevas that follows Mari as she fights to break a curse of bad luck set upon her by El Cocodrilo when she rejects her family’s Cuban traditions.
If Mari Feijoo could, she would turn her family’s Peak Cubanity down a notch, just enough so that her snooping neighbor and classmate Mykenzye wouldn’t have anything to tease her about. That’s why this year, there’s no way that Mari’s joining in on one of the biggest Feijoo family traditions—burning the New Year’s Eve effigy her abuela makes.Only Mari never suspects that failing to toss her effigy in the fire will bring something much worse than sneering words at school: a curse of bad luck from El Cocodrilo. At first, it’s just possessed violins and grade sabotaging pencils, but once El Cocodrilo learns that he becomes more powerful with each new misery, her luck goes from bad to nightmarish as the curse spreads to her friend Keisha.Instead of focusing on Mari’s mariachi band tryout and Keisha’s fencing tournament, the pair, along with their friend Juan Carlos, are racing against the clock to break the curse. But when Mari discovers her family’s gift to call upon their ancestors, she and her friends will have to find a way to work with the unexpected help that arrives from the far corners of Mari’s family tree to defeat El Cocodrilo before he makes their last year of elementary school the worst ever and tears their friendship apart.
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