Mary had a little lamb, and now María has a little llama in this bilingual presentation of a classic children’s rhyme, set in rural Peru.
Dominguez presents a straightforward version of the familiar rhyme, adding just enough new elements to transform it into a story. The text flows rhythmically in both the English and the Spanish, which are placed together on the page with the English in bold and positioned above the Spanish. The amount of text per page is brief and appropriate for a bilingual read-aloud. The landscape and imagery transport the readers to Peru, a part of the world not often seen in picture books. The warmly affectionate gouache-and-ink artwork uses bold outlines and an earthy palette. Shifting perspectives and amusing details encourage investigation before turning the page. For example, readers can explore the map of Peruvian landmarks that María visits, count the hours on the floating clocks as the llama waits for school to end, or make up their own stories about what is happening on the wordless spread of the town square as María makes her way to school. Though readers may desire a less abrupt ending, the setting choice and spirited illustrations make up for this lack of creativity in the text.
A fresh and enjoyable reimagining of a traditional children’s rhyme. (Bilingual picture book. 3-7)