Ensayo general

Book Descrip­tion

This the­atre anthol­ogy includes four plays: His­to­ria de una muñeca aban­don­ada by renowned Span­ish playright Alfonso Sas­tre, Fábula del buen hom­bre y su hijo, by Mireya Cueto, La Ceni­cienta: ver­sión desem­polvada, by Isabel Cam­poy and La calle de los fan­tas­mas by Javier Villafañe.

His­to­ria de una muñeca aban­don­ada is one of the best plays ever writ­ten in Span­ish for chil­dren. This drama, in verse form, inspired in King Salomon’s judge­ment, brings to ques­tion who is the true owner of a doll, the girl who received it as a gift, mis­treated and aban­doned it, or the girl who found it and tended for it carefully.

Besides hav­ing a pro­found con­tent, the play is a model of good the­atre fol­low­ing the best tra­di­tions of the­atre in the Span­ish lan­guage, includ­ing chang­ing the met­ric to adjust to the par­tic­u­lar emo­tions and feel­ings of each act.

La Ceni­cienta: ver­sion desem­polvada by Isabel Cam­poy is a witty ver­sion of the old Cin­derella tale now brought to mod­ern times.

La fábula del buen hom­bre y su hijo is a drama­ti­za­tion of the pop­u­lar fable in an excel­lent drama­ti­za­tion by Mireya Cueto.

La calle de los fan­tas­mas is an orig­i­nal play by one of the best authors of children’s the­atre in the Span­ish lan­guage, Javier Villafañe.

The book also includes five sec­tions that will inform chil­dren on var­i­ous aspects of the the­atre and will facil­i­tate their get­ting involved with dif­fer­ent forms of stag­ing a play: Sonido y util­ería. Los títeres. Las más­caras. Teatro de som­bras. Glosario de teatro.

Using this book

The val­ues of the use of involv­ing chil­dren with the­atre are mul­ti­ple. Plays can be an excel­lent tool for pro­mot­ing the abil­ity to speak in front of a group, which is a lead­er­ship skill. Since they offer chil­dren the oppor­tu­nity to uti­lize words and lan­guage reg­istries they may not have other oppor­tu­nity to use, plays can be strong vehi­cle for vocab­u­lary and lan­guage development.

When used for choral read­ing plays can strengthen read­ing skills. In addi­tion, act­ing on a play enhance children’s self-confidence and self-esteem while pro­vid­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties to learn about one’s self and oth­ers. Most impor­tantly, putting out a play, no mat­ter how sim­ply, pro­motes the val­ues of col­lab­o­ra­tion and solidarity.

To read more on the sig­nif­i­cance of the­atre click here: Let’s Raise the Cur­tain! The Ben­e­fit of The­atre in the School and for sug­ges­tions on its use in the class­room read the sec­tion “Plays and Dra­matic Games” in Chap­ter 3 of The Mag­i­cal Encounter: Latino Children’s Lit­er­a­ture in the Class­room and for dra­matic responses to books, the sec­tion “Pro­mot­ing Dra­matic Expres­sion” in Chap­ter 4 of that same book.

Author’s Note

Theatre has been a passion in my life. I was part of every play during my school years and later in High School I also begun writing. One of my plays  “The Museum” was chosen to be performed as the theatrical event of our class graduation. Theatre was a way of life for me during those early years.

Because of my experience with theatre, and how important it was in giving me a voice, breaking the barriers of shyness, and encouraging me to speak in public; ensur­ing that chil­dren have access to read and act in plays has always been one of my basic goals. Even if it is done with great sim­plic­ity, act­ing in a play can have very pos­i­tive results.

I am con­vinced that one is bet­ter able to teach some­thing one has enjoyed doing. And just as Alma Flor Ada and I empha­size, in our courses in Authors in the Class­room, that teach­ers who cre­ate their own books will be bet­ter able to get their stu­dents to become authors, I believe that encour­ag­ing teach­ers to do the­atre and expe­ri­enc­ing the rich­ness of the process would bet­ter allow them to incor­po­rate plays in their reg­u­lar teaching.


Each of the seven antholo­gies in this series offers a vari­ety of plays well-suited for either read­ing aloud or for full-scale per­for­mance. For the early grades, Alma Flor Ada and F. Isabel Cam­poy have cre­ated orig­i­nal adap­ta­tions of tra­di­tional children’s sto­ries. Famil­iar tales are retold in the form of plays, choral poems, and the­atre games, invit­ing chil­dren to explore move­ment, char­ac­ter­i­za­tion, and imag­i­na­tive play. The use of tra­di­tional His­panic folk­lore, woven into the dia­logue, enhances the cul­tural set­ting in which the sto­ries have been recast. For the older grades, a selec­tion of the best plays writ­ten for chil­dren through­out the Spanish-speaking world has been care­fully assembled.

The antholo­gies are: