Readers count up from one piñata to 10 friends at a fiesta.
The numbers are introduced, in English, in erratically metered three- or four-line stanzas. “Two are maracas / we shake to the beat. / Two are zapatos / on my feet.” The Spanish number names appear only under the indicated numeral—none are included in any of the verses even though there are 10 opportunities to give the Spanish números equal billing alongside their English equivalents, a lapse also seen in Thong’s two previous concept books, Round Is a Tortilla (2013) and Green Is a Chile Pepper (2014). It’s an odd choice, as Spanish vocabulary building is a principal focus of the series. There are also incidences of cultural dissonance, as in the spread that counts “Six kinds of salsa / to pour on rice”—an extremely irregular way to serve Mexican rice. The glossary omits the Feast of the Three Kings despite a banner that reads “¡Feliz día de Reyes!” In addition, it reinforces the incorrect Anglicized pronunciation of basic words, indicating, for instance, “NOO-bays” instead of “NOO-behs” (nubes—clouds) and “peen-YAH-tah” instead of the correct “pee-NYAH-tah” (piñata). Diphthongs are ignored altogether: The three-syllable “fee-EHST-ah” is used instead of the correct, two-syllable “FYEHS-tah” (fiesta). Parra’s simple matte characters introduced in the previous titles in this series provide continuity and familiarity.
Despite its flaws, this uneven offering still serves to introduce numbers bilingually. (Picture book. 4-6)