By means of the alphabet, this bilingual book introduces the cloud forest habitat of the olinguito, a recently discovered mammalian species from the Ecuadorean Andes.
Via text that reads like poetry, readers join a zoologist in the cloud forest of the Ecuadorean Andes as he searches for the elusive olinguito. Using the alphabet as a device, Delacre presents the habitat of the olinguito. By focusing on the habitat rather than the animal the author reinforces the important concept of interconnectedness. In a nice departure from the usual bilingual book produced in the States, Spanish is presented first, and the alphabet includes the “ñ.” In another welcome departure, both languages have been allowed to breathe and sound fluent. The Spanish text, often alliterative, hews closer to the corresponding alphabet letter than the English does; if it doesn’t work for the English text the author has allowed it to be so. For example, “Pp: Pica, pica, picaflor del paraíso de las palmas de cera / A hummingbird sips nectar in this paradise of wax palms.” The beautifully detailed mixed-media artwork urges readers to look closely, and the author further encourages exploration by listing some of the things readers can go back and search for in the illustrations. The book is rounded out with bilingual backmatter.
Poetic and informative, a breath of fresh air in the too-often-contrived world of bilingual books. (author notes, glossaries, author’s sources) (Bilingual informational picture book. 5-9)