What Does the Chupacabra Mean in Summer of the Mariposas?

February 14, 2024

When the Chupacabra (meaning goat-sucker) appears in your life, it may be a warning to you to watch how you treat other people. This creature is predatory by nature, and it often attacks other humans in order to get what it wants. Chupacabra also symbolizes the exploitation of those weaker than you, which can be especially hard on young children. In these cases, it’s important to take action and protect your children.

The creature’s name comes from a combination of two Spanish words: chupar (goat) and cabra (suck). The tale of this vampire-like animal exploded in the 1990s, but it has been around for much longer. The idea of something drinking blood gives most people the creeps, so it’s no wonder that this creature has inspired nightmares.

In some stories, a chupacabra is said to attack farm animals and drain their blood. Others claim that it has the ability to hypnotize its prey so that they don’t realize what’s happening, and it sucks out their organs as well. This type of creature is a bit like the Sasquatch or the Loch Ness monster, in that people spend time looking for proof and drawing pictures, but there’s no solid evidence that either one exists.

In Summer of the Mariposas, Odilia and her sisters encounter a number of apparitions as they travel on their road trip. The book is loosely patterned after Homer’s Odyssey, but it’s steeped in Mexican culture and folklore, including Aztec figures. This retelling of an epic adventure is a 2013 Andre Norton Award Nominee and a winner of the Westchester Fiction Award and 2012 School Library Journal Best Books. The publisher, Lee & Low Books, offers excellent teaching materials on its site. They include a mythological glossary, discussion questions, a link to an educator guide by the blog Vamos a Leer and a video presentation by the author.

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