A simple story with cute illustrations, but the lack of care given to the Spanish translation results in an unbalanced...

ARE YOU MY BROWN BEAR?/¿ERES MI OSO PARDO?

From the ¡Hola English! series

This title is one of several by Ziefert in the bilingual ¡Hola English! series, intended to appeal both to Spanish-speaking readers learning English and the reverse.

Unfortunately, the story falls flat, and the Spanish translation leaves much to be desired. The author follows a familiar pattern, with a narrator asking several bears, “Are you my brown bear?” Readers meet various characters such as “big bear” and “dig bear” until finally locating the missing teddy bear. The Spanish employs a literal translation of the English text, which means that the wordplay and rhymes are completely lost. Some of the word choices are bizarre (such as translating “scary” as “espeluznante,” not in common conversational use), and many make the Spanish much more difficult than the early-reader–level English that it accompanies. Readers looking for beginning bilingual titles that are more equally engaging across both languages may want to consider choices from Pat Mora’s My Family / Mi familia series, and for a rhyming bilingual book that excels in both English and Spanish, try Hello Night / Hola noche, by Amy Costales and illustrated by Mercedes McDonald (2007).

A simple story with cute illustrations, but the lack of care given to the Spanish translation results in an unbalanced bilingual book as a whole. (Bilingual early reader. 5-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 14, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-60905-512-7

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Blue Apple

Review Posted Online: Aug. 12, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2014

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This story covers the few days preceding the much-anticipated Midnight Zombie Walk, when Stink and company will take to the...

STINK AND THE MIDNIGHT ZOMBIE WALK

From the Stink series

An all-zombie-all-the-time zombiefest, featuring a bunch of grade-school kids, including protagonist Stink and his happy comrades.

This story covers the few days preceding the much-anticipated Midnight Zombie Walk, when Stink and company will take to the streets in the time-honored stiff-armed, stiff-legged fashion. McDonald signals her intent on page one: “Stink and Webster were playing Attack of the Knitting Needle Zombies when Fred Zombie’s eye fell off and rolled across the floor.” The farce is as broad as the Atlantic, with enough spookiness just below the surface to provide the all-important shivers. Accompanied by Reynolds’ drawings—dozens of scene-setting gems with good, creepy living dead—McDonald shapes chapters around zombie motifs: making zombie costumes, eating zombie fare at school, reading zombie books each other to reach the one-million-minutes-of-reading challenge. When the zombie walk happens, it delivers solid zombie awfulness. McDonald’s feel-good tone is deeply encouraging for readers to get up and do this for themselves because it looks like so much darned fun, while the sub-message—that reading grows “strong hearts and minds,” as well as teeth and bones—is enough of a vital interest to the story line to be taken at face value.

Pub Date: March 13, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-7636-5692-8

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2012

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Very young gardeners will need more information, but for certain picky eaters, the suggested strategy just might work.

SYLVIA'S SPINACH

A young spinach hater becomes a spinach lover after she has to grow her own in a class garden.

Unable to trade away the seed packet she gets from her teacher for tomatoes, cukes or anything else more palatable, Sylvia reluctantly plants and nurtures a pot of the despised veggie then transplants it outside in early spring. By the end of school, only the plot’s lettuce, radishes and spinach are actually ready to eat (talk about a badly designed class project!)—and Sylvia, once she nerves herself to take a nibble, discovers that the stuff is “not bad.” She brings home an armful and enjoys it from then on in every dish: “And that was the summer Sylvia Spivens said yes to spinach.” Raff uses unlined brushwork to give her simple cartoon illustrations a pleasantly freehand, airy look, and though Pryor skips over the (literally, for spinach) gritty details in both the story and an afterword, she does cover gardening basics in a simple and encouraging way.

Very young gardeners will need more information, but for certain picky eaters, the suggested strategy just might work. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Nov. 6, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-9836615-1-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Readers to Eaters

Review Posted Online: Sept. 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2012

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