La ciudad de las bestias

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Buy the guide and reproduce or distribute it as much as you like, for all of your students, for as long as you’re teaching, for only $29.95. You’ll need to purchase separately Spanish-language copies of the book La ciudad de las bestias. The book is technically out-of-print but is available on Kindle and pretty widely through third-party sellers on sites like Amazon and AbeBooks.

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Legal details:

Copyright 2013 Sara-Elizabeth Cottrell

Purchase includes the rights to reproduce or digitally distribute this digital file for the students of the purchasing teacher. Not transferable after use. Respect copyright law.

The novel La ciudad de las bestias is copyright 2002 by Isabel Allende. All rights reserved.


Check out the sample for chapter 4.

About the novel

In La ciudad de las bestias, Allende combines themes of relationship, travel, environmental concern, fantasy, and indigenous people groups. Travel with Alex and his eccentric explorer of an abuela as they journey to the jungles of South America. They’re searching with an eclectic group of explorers for the mythical bestia de la selva. Will they find the beasts? Is everyone who they say they are? What will Alex learn about himself, friendship, and family through the animals and dangers of the jungle?

Musicuentos Ebook Guides in Action

What are these ebook guides like?  Check out Allison’s experience with teaching the memoir Cajas de cartón using my ebook guide in her posts Planning for Cajas de cartón and Literature Conversation Circles.

Thank you for creating these reading guides; I would have never had my students reading them otherwise. They seem quite confident reading Ciudad; however, I would not have had the time to break down the novel…and with such finesse.

– Jana


  • Illustrated
  • Professionally formatted
  • 79 pages
  • Introduction
  • Spanish/English dictionary of all vocabulary words and phrases


Each chapter’s section begins with a vocabulary list.  I chose the words based on their frequency of use, application to advanced themes, or importance in the chapter.  Words and phrases that are especially important to the plot or that help students improve their proficiency are emphasized.  Within the Vocabulary section, several activities get students using the words and phrases in memory-boosting ways.  Translations of the words are not included so that you can determine how students interact with the meanings of the words. All words and phrases and their English translations are listed alphabetically in a dictionary at the end.

snip2A repasar

After the first several chapters, each chapter includes a list of vocabulary words previously mentioned in a Vocabulario section. Sometimes these words are variations of previously used words.


These are specific questions designed to enhance memory by causing students to relate vocabulary meaningfully to the world around them.


This section lists pairs or groups of words that are related somehow.  Boost memory by asking students to make connections among vocabulary words.  Are they all parts of the body?  Things that you wear?  Words related to injuries?

Diccionario Visual

Students remember more when a picture is attached to a word.  Students are encouraged to look up several vocabulary words using Google Images.  (Note: I have
looked up every word I recommend students to view, but still remind students to use discretion and turn on Safe Search.)


Students perform a task specifically related to improving their proficiency, such as describing a scene, making a comparison, or narrating a story.


Students have the opportunity to practice interpersonal conversation by talking with a classmate or friend about something related to the chapter and its vocabulary.

Imaginación con una frase idiomática

Students practice idiomatic expressions, a key to developing advanced proficiency, in a way that uses their imagination, which increases memory.

Aún más

This section is included from time to time to ask students to make a cultural connection using vocabulary words and concepts.


This section is included from time to time to give tips on how particular words are formed or function in sentences.


A leer

The second part of each “chapter” is a set of questions about the plot of the story, accompanied by proficiency-boosting activities.

Reading questions

These questions usually relate to major plot developments and often ask students to think critically about what they’re reading.

Para ti

This activity asks students to relate something in Alex’s story to their own world. Making cultural comparisons is an important skill for advanced students.

Para comprender más

offers comprehension-boosting activities such as making diagrams
or character sketches or looking up pictures or videos of things or actions mentioned in the chapter.

Aún más

This activity is included from time to time to suggest ideas for how to find out more about the world of Las bestias.


This activity is included from time to time to point out a grammatical function in a chapter and ask students to interact with it in some way.


The book ends with an 11-page glossary of every word or phrase included in the vocabulary lists.

More testimonials

This is my first time teaching a novel and quite honestly, I wasn’t sure how to do it but because you provided these materials, I gave it a try, and I’m so glad I did. I appreciate all your hard work because it made it so easy for me to take the risk and try something new.

Totally excited about this ebook! Now I think I can teach this novel!

My class finished the book and found the study guide VERY helpful! Thank you!

The kids are enjoying the book so much. This has been a lifesaver!

Your guide has enriched all of my students. It is so wonderful to see these students get excited about reading in another language. IT HAS BEEN AWESOME!


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