A bilingual Spanish/English spatial-awareness concept book.
Herrera—U.S. poet laureate from 2015 to 2017—introduces the concept of proximity in a series of simple statements that start with a child getting ready to go out and end with the child approaching a friend’s house. The statements are presented first in Spanish followed by italicized English, effectively normalizing the Spanish. “Mi cuarto está cerca de la cocina. / My bedroom is close to the kitchen.” Gómez’s color-saturated illustrations portray a child in a jaunty striped T-shirt and two cute pigtails proceeding from bedroom to kitchen to door, daisies, apple tree, horses, and, finally, the friend’s house. By breaking up the journey into incremental “cerca / close” steps the author brings the close friendship into focus. Companion volume Lejos / Far starts with the same two characters under a lemon tree, with the friend—now the main character—looking back to the house in the distance. This time the emphasis is on places that are far: from lemon tree to house, city, ocean, and mountains. As the child walks in the mountains holding a caregiver’s hand, clouds can be seen far above, and further than that is the sun: “El sol brilla sobre mí. / The sun shines over me.” Both the children and the adult have brown skin and black hair.
Quiet, simple, and sweet. (Board book. 2-4)