El ratón Pablito

Book Title El ratón Pablito (Pablo the Rat)
Author(s) Craig Klein Dexemple
Illustrator(s) Karen Arévalo & Craig Dexemple
Other Contributors
Published by Self-published
Genre Realistic Fiction
Publication date 2016
#Ownvoices N/A
From the author/publisher’s website
Level 1

Total Word Count

Illustrations                 YES 
Glossary                       YES  
Guiding Questions      NO  
Context                        NO

Races, Ethnicities, and Nationalities
Bolivia, Chile, Mexico, and Venezuela are mentioned in the stories

Languages spoken

Sex and Genders

Child: 6-12
Teenager: 13-18
Young Adult: 18-35

Social classes
Upper Class
Sexual Orientation



Family Structures

Body Type

From the author/publisher’s website 

A series of comprehensible, compelling mini stories with unique characters, unexpected twists and plenty of illustrations that keep readers engaged and wanting more.  Repetition of sheltered vocabulary and structures provides optimum input to promote natural language acquisition.

To what extent do the illustrations present positive and thoughtful representations of identities?

Several illustrations represent females in stereotypical ways (e.g. big lips, bows in hair, several females chasing one male figure, eyeshadow and exaggerated eyelashes: 30, 33). Females are shown throwing kisses at a man (29) and begging for his attention (29, 59). Some females are portrayed with thick lips trying to kiss a male against the male’s wishes (18, 34). 

One illustration portrays a witch in a bikini and upon seeing her, Pablito responds with horror (17). The witch has an elongated nose and chin, and facial signs of aging. The use of long noses on witches has a history in anti-Semitic propaganda. 

The anthropomorphised mice are presented with a variety of “skin” (fur) tones. The humans in the book are presented consistently with light skin tones.
We understand identities are complex and no single story represents the spectrum of identity-based experiences. Also, a text may address a stereotype, misrepresentation, or generalization without relying on it.

Does any stereotype, misrepresentation, or generalization affect any positive and thoughtful representations of identities in the text?

Female characters are visually portrayed in stereotyped ways such as bows in the hair, exaggerated eyelashes & lips.

This section is for teachers who are working towards sourcing more texts within the four domains of anti-bias education. We are excited about reading all books and we understand that not all books are written for this specific purpose. 

Does this text work toward goals within any of the four domains of anti-bias education as defined by Learning for Justice


El Ratón Pablito is a series of 14 mini-stories whose connecting thread is the main character, a mouse named Pablito, who goes on many adventures with unexpected plot twists. The book is 109 pages long, with illustrations embedded throughout and words & phrases glossed directly on the page in which they appear. The book also includes a more comprehensive glossary at the end.

The illustrations throughout the book aid in comprehension and make the story engaging and easy to read. The illustrations generally have a 1:1 correspondence with the text. Many words and phrases are glossed directly on the page, which aids in ease of comprehensibility, because the most challenging words/phrases are on the page in which they appear. Each mini-story is a self-contained short story that can be understood within the context of the larger book, or taken separately as a stand-alone story. These stories are short and comprehensible. The author has a website with animated videos (spanishcuentos.com) that accompany each mini-story.

A strong female character rescues Pablito from an octopus attack. “La muchacha es valiente y muy fuerte” / The girl is very brave and very strong (49, 50).

Respect is encouraged toward the natural world when Pablito is in the Bolivian countryside and learns not to kick and insult a large rock. The rock has a personality and tells Pablito to stop. This seems congruent with Andean cosmovisions in which mineral and plant elements of the natural world are seen as possessing souls/spirits in interaction with animals and humans (24-26).

Throughout the short stories there is a recurring character known only as the small bird (pájaro pequeño) who asks questions that include prepositions of location (what is inside the box, what is below the hat, what is behind the door (38-40, 54-56). This character can provide a useful teaching point for students to learn prepositions of location, and also serves as another thread to tie the stories together.

Some cultural products and practices are depicted, e.g. traditional hats from Bolivia, Mexico and Colombia (37); a thermometer showing degrees Celsius (45); bullfighting and la tomatina in Spain (31, 95, 98-100).

The female characters in the story (mostly anthropomorphised rats, cows, cats, but also humans) are depicted in stereotypically gendered ways that represent the female characters as overly flirtatious and boy-chasing (17, 18, 29, 30, 33, 34, 59). The male protagonists respond to this flirtatious behavior of the female characters by saying it is disgusting (“¡Qué asco!”/How disgusting!) and/or they run away from a chasing throng of females (29, 30, 34, 59). 

A witch in a bikini, who is portrayed as a crone (middle-aged or older), is sequenced to appear in a story after an angry bull and one-eyed alien (15-17), suggesting that her body is more terrifying to Pablito than that of the previous two beings. The presentation of witches as scary and unattractive has a deep history in anti-woman narratives. 

Two situations (6, 40) involve a character’s bodily privacy being accidentally violated while on the toilet, with this incident serving as the comedic high point of the story.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this:
search previous next tag category expand menu location phone mail time cart zoom edit close