EIGHT ANIMALS BAKE A CAKE by Susan Middleton Elya

EIGHT ANIMALS BAKE A CAKE

by & illustrated by
Age Range: 4 - 8
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KIRKUS REVIEW

The clever format of this delightful story will have even the youngest children speaking and understanding Spanish. The ocho animales featured in Elya’s previous Eight Animals on the Town (2000) come together to bake a cake, each bringing one ingredient. The friends stir the batter, place it in the oven, and listen to Bird sing as they try to be patient. The table is all set and ready, but when the cake lands on the floor, all seems lost. As the animals lament their ruined dessert, Cow sends Bird flying off with some cash. When she returns, she carries a large prickly fruit, piña, which Cow uses to save the day. Families can enjoy the same dessert—the recipe follows the story. Each of Elya’s couplets seamlessly introduce or reinforce two Spanish words, while the cunning rhyme scheme helps readers with their pronunciation. From the names of the eight animals and the ingredients they contribute, to the common household objects they come across, there is no doubt as to the meaning of the new vocabulary. As the tale progresses, the animals are referred to only by their Spanish names, while clues in the couplets and illustrations help readers remember their meanings. While the story is amusing and educational, it is the novelty of hearing and learning a new language, combined with the marvelously colorful illustrations that will capture and hold children’s attention. A Mexican influence is apparent in Chapman’s (Doggie Dreams, 2000) detailed illustrations—from the bright colors of the equator and the palms and cacti, to the bright geometric border, the folk art–inspired drawings are sure to please. A glossary and a pronunciation guide is included, although the articles associated with Spanish nouns are absent. An appealingly painless introduction to another language. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: July 1st, 2002
ISBN: 0-399-23468-3
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Putnam
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1st, 2002




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