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Literature: Papelucho

"Papelucho" is a series of twelve books written by Ester Huneeus, a Chilean author, under the pseudonym Marcela Paz. It presents itself as the diary of a middle class, 8-year old Chilean boy in Santiago. This makes it different from many other children's books, which are set in unreal surroundings. The first book was published in 1947 and the last appeared in 1974: "Am I Dix-lazy?".

  • Papelucho (1947).
  • Papelucho Casi Huérfano (1951) (Papelucho the almost orphan).
  • Papelucho Historiador (1955) (Papelucho historian).
  • Papelucho Detective (1957) (Papelucho detective).
  • Papelucho en la Clínica (1958) (Papelucho at the hospital).
  • Papelucho Perdido (1960) (Papelucho lost).
  • Mi Hermana Ji, por Papelucho (1964) (My sister Ji, by Papelucho).
  • Papelucho Misionero (1966) (Papelucho missionary).
  • Papelucho y el Marciano (1968) (Papelucho and the Martian).
  • Mi Hermano Hippie (My hippie brother, by Papelucho).
  • Papelucho en Vacaciones (1971) (Papelucho on Vacation).
  • Papelucho ¿Soy Dix Leso? (1974) (Papelucho Am I dyslexic?, translated as Papelucho Am I dys-lazy?).


This book series provides examples of:

  • Adults Are Useless - Parents as People: Papelucho's parents are good people and care for him, but they don't do a lot to help him and can't keep up with his odd trains of thoughts.
  • All Animals Are Domesticated: In Papelucho on vacation, the kid domesticates a snake. A SNAKE! And a Puma, a.k.a. a mountain lion.
    • In Papelucho missionary he befriends a colony of gorillas and even adopts a gorilla kid as his personal secretary. He names him "Juanito", a.k.a. "Little John."
  • Aloof Big Brother: Javier, hinted to be much older than Papelucho. Confirmed in Mi Hermana Ji (he's about to enlist in the Navy, meaning he's at very least 17-18) and Mi hermano hippie (he's a young adult now... and a hippie.)
  • An Aesop: Thankfully averted. Even though the books were written for children, they never try to moralize or anything like that.
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: Jimena aka Ji.
  • Comic Book Time: ... for HOW many years has Papelucho been just 8 years old? Made even funnier by how Jimena grows from a baby to a kindergarten child and Javier goes from a teenager to a young adult.
  • Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Papelucho's peculiar thought process allows him to do a lot of awesome things that grown-ups can't. According to him, the only reason they can't is because "they are always in a hurry."
  • Character Title
  • Character Name and the Noun Phrase
  • Darkest Africa: This is how Papelucho imagines Africa in Papelucho missionary and feels cheated once he discovers it's a normal place.
  • Diary: The way all the books are presented.
  • Episode Finishes the Title
  • Free-Range Children: Papelucho's adventures tend to take him VERY far away from his home, but his parents either don't notice or they don't take him seriously. Save for Papelucho Detective: the first part happens in the local slums, Papelucho spends several days there with his Country Mouse friend "El Chirigüe", and when he returns home he says that even Javier was pissed off and scared at him.
  • Kid Detective: Tries to be one on Papelucho detective.
  • Inter Generational Friendship: In Papelucho en la Clìnica, Papelucho befriends a crazy old man who pretty much lives in the hospital where Jimena was born since he has no family. Said old man turns out to be a millinaire, and once he dies he leaves all of his money to Papelucho and his family.
  • Ill Boy: The plot of Papelucho en la Clìnica is kickstarted when Papelucho befriends Casimiro, a Lonely Rich Kid who's about to be operated on. They switch places for a prank, then Papelucho is operated instead by mistake and a scared Casimiro goes home to tell his dad about it. And halfway through the book, Casimiro has a relapse in his illness and is operated for real.
  • Literary Agent Hypothesis: The premise of the books. Technically it's a spoiler of the first book, so...
  • The Missionary: Papelucho missionary.
  • The Movie: Papelucho y el marciano. As the title implies, it's more or less based on the eponymous book, but it takes a lot of liberties.
  • Mars: Papelucho and the Martian, obviously. However, it's way too different of what you imagine when you think of Mars.
  • Mr. Fixit: Papelucho sees himself as one. Too bad nobody gets him.
  • Mr. Imagination
  • New-Age Retro Hippie: The grown up Javier, much for his parent's dismay.
  • Not Allowed to Grow Up
  • Not Now, Kid: Papelucho's parents could have avoided a LOT of problems if they listened to him from time on time. (Among other things, they are frequent victims of con artists.)
  • One Gender School: Papelucho and Javier attend an all-boys Boarding School in the first book.
  • Parental Abandonment: Papelucho the almost orphan. Technically, his parents just go to the US for a while, but he believes they have ditched him.
  • Patriotic Fervor: Papelucho historian, which is about him learning the history of America and specially Chile.
  • Pun-Based Title: Papelucho ¿Soy Dix Leso?. You can see it doesn't work too good in English.
  • Rapunzel Hair: In "Casi Huérfano", Papelucho meets the niece of his teacher Miss Mafalda and she has hair like this. The girl tells him she keeps her hair that long because her parents won't let her cut it shorter. He ends up cutting it off, much to both the girl's and Miss Mafalda's displeasure; later, however, the teacher thanks him since it was too much of a hassle to mantain.
  • Secret Diary
  • Slice of Life
  • Who Names Their Kid "Dude"?: Seriously? Papelucho?
    • Papelucho is supposed to be "Pepe Lucho" - a diminutive of "José Luis", a composite name that's very common in Spanish-speaking countries. Word of God confirmed that both book and the character were named after a friend and the author's husband: both men were named "José Luis" and nicknamed "Pepe Lucho"
  • Your Tomcat Is Pregnant: In "My sister Ji", the family has adopted a cat named "Teodoro". When this trope took place, the kids renamed her "Teodora"

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alternative title(s): Papelucho
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