SayitSees The Best Breakfast El Mejor Desayuno

A fun book that will help children navigate the breakfast table in two languages.

A bilingual English/Spanish children’s book celebrating food and family.

Young Sam is excited because today’s the day that his mother promised to cook him his very favorite breakfast. This premise serves as a vehicle to introduce young readers to some common English and Spanish phrases as Sam goes through his morning routine of washing his face (“lavando la cara”), saying “good morning” to his mom (“Buenos días mami”), and talking about various foods (“naranja,” “leche”). Unfortunately, as the book progresses, Sam finds that his mother hasn’t cooked him his favorite breakfast of milk, eggs, orange slices, and toast. Instead, she’s made him pancakes and juice. In the end, though, it turns out that she’s playing a simple trick. His mother gives the pancake breakfast to his siblings and gives him his preferred breakfast after all. This book pairs simple English and Spanish sentences together, allowing children to easily see the relationship between the two languages. The story’s subject matter is a good choice, as it will help children relate the words they’ve been learning to real life. Although the cartoonish illustrations, which depict Sam and his family as blue humanoids with antennae, aren’t spectacular—most are simple drawings set against a monochrome background—they’re amusing enough to keep children engaged. The book comes with flashcards of simple, useful phrases to help children practice certain sentences. It also comes with a DVD that features an excellent video reading of the book. (Two other videos, featuring English and Spanish conversations between a mother and child, aren’t quite as interesting.) What stands out about this book is how it presents children and parents with an opportunity to bond over language learning. By reading the book to each other, practicing phrases with flash cards, or watching the DVD, it will provide them with a great way to begin exploring English or Spanish together.

A fun book that will help children navigate the breakfast table in two languages.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: 978-0-9858763-0-2

Page Count: 30

Publisher: Technoria

Review Posted Online: July 25, 2015

CINDERELLA

From the Once Upon a World series

A nice but not requisite purchase.

A retelling of the classic fairy tale in board-book format and with a Mexican setting.

Though simplified for a younger audience, the text still relates the well-known tale: mean-spirited stepmother, spoiled stepsisters, overworked Cinderella, fairy godmother, glass slipper, charming prince, and, of course, happily-ever-after. What gives this book its flavor is the artwork. Within its Mexican setting, the characters are olive-skinned and dark-haired. Cultural references abound, as when a messenger comes carrying a banner announcing a “FIESTA” in beautiful papel picado. Cinderella is the picture of beauty, with her hair up in ribbons and flowers and her typically Mexican many-layered white dress. The companion volume, Snow White, set in Japan and illustrated by Misa Saburi, follows the same format. The simplified text tells the story of the beautiful princess sent to the forest by her wicked stepmother to be “done away with,” the dwarves that take her in, and, eventually, the happily-ever-after ending. Here too, what gives the book its flavor is the artwork. The characters wear traditional clothing, and the dwarves’ house has the requisite shoji screens, tatami mats and cherry blossoms in the garden. The puzzling question is, why the board-book presentation? Though the text is simplified, it’s still beyond the board-book audience, and the illustrations deserve full-size books.

A nice but not requisite purchase. (Board book/fairy tale. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4814-7915-8

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Oct. 11, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

THERE'S A MONSTER IN YOUR BOOK

From the Who's in Your Book? series

Playful, engaging, and full of opportunities for empathy—a raucous storytime hit.

Readers try to dislodge a monster from the pages of this emotive and interactive read-aloud.

“OH NO!” the story starts. “There’s a monster in your book!” The blue, round-headed monster with pink horns and a pink-tipped tail can be seen cheerfully munching on the opening page. “Let’s try to get him out,” declares the narrator. Readers are encouraged to shake, tilt, and spin the book around, while the monster careens around an empty background looking scared and lost. Viewers are exhorted to tickle the monster’s feet, blow on the page, and make a really loud noise. Finally, shockingly, it works: “Now he’s in your room!” But clearly a monster in your book is safer than a monster in your room, so he’s coaxed back into the illustrations and lulled to sleep, curled up under one page and cuddling a bit of another like a child with their blankie. The monster’s entirely cute appearance and clear emotional reactions to his treatment add to the interactive aspect, and some young readers might even resist the instructions to avoid hurting their new pal. Children will be brought along on the monster’s journey, going from excited, noisy, and wiggly to calm and steady (one can hope).

Playful, engaging, and full of opportunities for empathy—a raucous storytime hit. (Picture book. 2-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6456-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: June 4, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2017

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