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Children's books in Spanish.

Board Books

Munarriz, Mercedes ?Por que? (Why?) ISBN 84-667-2627-6. ?Que es? (What Is It?) ISBN 84-667-2626-8.

Ea. vol.: Illus. by Rocio Martinez. (Mi Primera Sopa de Libros) Madrid: Grupo Anaya, 2003. 16 pp. $10.95. In ? Por que ? Mateo, a child mouse, describes his ever-inquisitive younger sister, Carmen. She wants to know why tree leaves move, why plants need water, why stones are round. She is surprised that Mateo doesn't know the answer to the last question, because !Creia que tu lo sabias todo! (I thought you knew everything!). An unfortunate didactic message concludes this otherwise charming board book. In ?Que es?, Mateo patiently answers Carmen's questions and explains to her what a tunnel, a stone, a song, a hug, and finally a kiss is. !Un sello de carinio! (A seal of love!) The thick black lines and bright watercolor illustrations make these board books even more appealing. Ages 2-4.

Ver y tocar palabras. (My First Word, Touch, and Feel.) Illus. by Paul Bricknell and others. Barcelona: Editorial Molino, 2002. 12 pp. ISBN 84-272-7735-0. $13.95. This oversize board book with its crisp, color photographs, clear captions, and attractively textured surfaces, is just right for Spanish-speaking toddlers learning to identify everyday objects. Children are encouraged to feel the esponja blanda (squishy bath sponge) or the el vestido de terciopelo (velvety dress), and even the castillo de arena (sandcastle). Originally published by Dorling Kindersley, London, this well-selected vocabulary builder starts en la casa (around the house) and ends en la playa (at the beach). Ages 1-3.

Classic Stories

Andersen, Hans Christian

La princesa y el guisante. (The Princess and the Pea.) Illus. by Elena Odriozola. Translated by Enrique Bernardez. ISBN 84-667-2551-2.

Grimm, Jacob and Wilhelm

La Bella Durmiente. (The Sleeping Beauty.) Illus. by Ana Jaun. Translated by Maria Antonia Seijo Castroviejo. ISBN 84-667-2554-7.

Caperucita Roja. (Little Red Riding Hood.) Illus. by Carmen Segovia. Translated by Maria Antonia Seijo Castroviejo. ISBN 84-667-2552-0.

El lobo y los siete cabritillos. (The Wolf and the Seven Little Goats.) Illus. by Elisa Arguile. Translated by Maria Antonia Seijo Castroviejo. ISBN 84-667-2550-4. Jacobs, Joseph

La historia de los tres cerditos. (The Story of the Three Little Pigs.) Illus. by Xan Lopez Dominguez. Translated by Fernando Santos. ISBN 84-667-2553-9. Ea. vol.: (Sopa de Cuentos) Madrid: Grupo Anaya, 2003. 24 pp. $7.95. These new renditions of the always-popular classic stories are characterized by pleasing designs against white backgrounds, modernist watercolor illustrations, and a fresh, almost sassy writing style that is sure to entice reluctant readers or listeners. Children will be surprised to learn that the pea that bothered the princess ends up in a museum in La princesa y el guisante. Even after a big commotion, Sleeping Beauty and the prince have a beautiful wedding celebration in La Bella Durmiente. A contemporary Red Riding Hood promises her mother to follow her instructions from now on in Caperucita Roja. Despite the repeated use of Peninsular Spanish pronouns and conjugations (e.g., os, conocereis, abrid, vuestra), Spanish speakers will rejoice as mother goat finds a way to save all of her children and punish the wolf in El lobo y los siete cabritillos. Soft pastel illustrations of the bad wolf, who tries to trick the third pig but is himself cooked in a pot of soup, add a special flair to La historia de los tres cerditos. Ages 4-7.

Lobel, Arnold

Buho en casa. (Owl at Home.) Illus. by the author. Translated by Carmen Diana Dearden and Brenda Bellorin. Caracas: Ediciones Ekare, 2000. 64 pp. ISBN 980-257-253-5. $7.95, paperback. This collection includes five stories about Buho, a plump owl who lives by himself in a cozy little house, In El invitado, Winter takes advantage of Buho's gracious hospitality. In Bultos extras, strange bumps in his bedroom prevent Buho from falling asleep. Te de lagrimas celebrates delicious tear-water tea. Buho finds out that he can't be upstairs and downstairs at the same time in Arriba y abajo. And, my favorite, Buho y la luna, features Buho's new friend Luna (moon) as she follows Buho all the way home. This easy-to-read Spanish rendition, with Lobel's characteristically warm, softly colored drawings of a wide-eyed, chubby owl, will make this a favorite read. Ages 6-8.

Bedtime Stories

Bonniol, Magali El ogro de Mariuchi. (Mariuchi's Ogre.) Translated by Maria Ros. Barcelona: Editorial Corimbo, 2003. 32 pp. ISBN 84-8470-112-3. $10.95. Mariuchi can't go to bed because a huge ogre is sitting on her bed; furthermore, the ogre can't stop crying. He explains to her that he is too big for his castle. Mariuchi knows exactly what to do. After she says the magic words, the ogre is reduced in size and can now sleep comfortably in his own bed. And, of course, Mariuchi can, too. The small, soft black pen-and-watercolor illustrations and the simple Spanish rendition make this book, originally published by L'ecole des Loisirs, Paris, a calming bed time story for young Spanish speakers. Ages 3-6.

Cooper, Helen

?Donde esta Tatty Ratty? (Tatty Ratty.) Illus. by the author. Translated by Elodi Bourgeois. Barcelona: Editorial Juventud, 2002. 28pp. ISBN 84-261-3260-X. $16.95.

Elena is worried because she cannot find Tatty Ratty, her favorite stuffed animal. Mama/and Papa do everything they can to comfort her, including participating in an imaginative journey in which Tatty Ratty eats oatmeal with the Tres Osos, returns home with Cenicienta, and is saved by los piratas (pirates). Cooper's full-page fanciful illustrations are contrasted with realistic, everyday boxed scenes of Elena with her loving parents. Young Spanish speakers will rejoice when, !porfin! (at last!), Elena finds a new Tatty Ratty. Ages 5-8.

Beginning Readers

Cano Guijarro, Isabel Los animales. (Animals.) ISBN 84-667-2671-3.

La ciudad. (The City.) ISBN 84-667-2673-X.

En casa. (At Home.) ISBN 84-667-2672-1.

Los juegos. (Games.) ISBN 84-667-2675-6. Ea. vol.: Illus. by Tae Mori. (Adivina y Pegatina) Madrid: Grupo Anaya, 2003. 24 pp. $10.95. Charming rhyming texts and bold, black, fluid lines and bright watercolors encourage children to solve the riddle in each two-page spread. Whether used for simple reading, vocabulary building, or participation, all readers/listeners will enjoy such puzzles as Tiene alas de pato y no es pato/ ... /y/cabeza de pato y no es pato. Eleven animals are featured in Los animales. Various items common to cities are depicted in La ciudad. Items found in houses are portrayed in En casa. Children play such games as soccer and marbles in Los juegos. Some adults may object to the stickers of missing items included at the end of the book that children are supposed to attach to the correct outline. Nevertheless, the riddles are fun. Ages 5-7.

Affection and Love

Dufresne, Didier Solamente un poco de gripe. (Only a Slight Cold.) Illus. by Armelle Modere. Translated by Julia Vinent. Barcelona: Editorial Corimbo, 2003. 28 pp. ISBN 84-8470-123-9. $16.95. Diego, a child raccoon, is not feeling well. He is either too cold or too warm, feels dizzy, and has goose bumps. Concerned, mama raccoon calls the doctor, who examines Diego and concludes that Es solamente un poco de gripe. En tres dias estaras bien. ("It is only a slight cold. In three days you'll be fine.") In a jovial role reversal, papa raccoon stays home while Diego progressively feels much better and is eager to play outdoors. But mama raccoon reminds Diego that it is time to go to school. Diego hesitates and wonders if he is not still sick. Despite the rather thin story, the tender pastel watercolors add to the universal appeal of a child with a cold being tended by his loving papa and mama. Ages 4-6.

Genechten, Guido van

Porque te quiero tanto. (Because I Love You So Much.) Illus. by the author. Translated by Laura Emilia Pacheco. Mexico: Altea/Santillana, 2003. 26 pp. ISBN 970-29-0912-0. $18.95. Black ink and soft watercolor illustrations in pastel blues mad whites provide a gentle background in this oversize book in which Nevoso, a young polar bear, learns about nature, tenderness, and love from his ever-watchful mother. Pacheco's subdued Spanish rendition perfectly matches Nevoso's inquisitiveness as he questions his mother ?Por que la nieve es blanca ... ? (Why is snow white?) and the concluding ?Me querrias igual ... ? (Would you love me ... ?) Young Spanish speakers will want to touch and feel Nevoso's soft, felt-like for as they share in Nevoso's philosophical dilemmas. Ages 4-6.


Brown, Ruth Diez semillas. (Ten Seeds.) Illus. by the author. Translated by Mari Luz Ponce. Valencia: Brosquil Ediciones, 2003. 22 pp. ISBN 84-95620-96-0. $15.95. Young Spanish speakers will be able to practice subtraction by counting down from 10 seeds, using Brown's original, double-page watercolors depicting how plants grow and spread their seeds. Although they watch the seeds (followed by seedlings, shoots, and plants) disappear, the one remaining sunflower blooms and produces !Diez semillas! (Ten seeds!) Subtraction and the life cycle are presented simply and charmingly. Ages 3-5.

Grindley, Sally

La playa de Pedro. (Peter's Place.) Illus. by Michael Foreman. Translated by Teresa Farran. Barcelona: Editorial Juventud, 2003. 28pp. ISBN 84-261-3314-2. $15.95. Young Pedro enjoys his beautiful, pristine ocean beach, which he shares with crabs, otters, fish, and his favorite ducks. When an oil tanker c rashes in to nearby rocks and spills its slick black oil, the whole landscape and all its creatures are threatened. Encouraged by his father, Pedro joins in the rescue and clean-up efforts. Eventually, life returns with all its beauty. Foreman's straining double-page water color spreads are powerful reminders of the symmetry and fragility of the natural world. Despite the suggestion of anthropomorphism, Farran's smooth Spanish rendition will affect all nature lovers. Ages 5-8.

Manners and Prejudice

Edwards, Pamela Duncan !Terco como una mula! (Rude Mule.) Illus. by Barbara Nascimbeni. Translated by Daniela Tarazona. Mexico: Ediciones Destino, 2003. 26 pp. ISBN 970-690-742-4. $15.95. A polite little boy insists on polite behavior from a rude mule. When the mule continues acting discourteously, refusing to say si, por favor, the boy advises the mule that Entonces no vamos a jugar con mi trenecito ... ("Then we won't be able to play with my train set ... "). Tarazona's matter-of-fact Spanish rendition, in which the narrator directly addresses the reader, makes this series of familiar situations a delightful review of good manners. Like the original English edition, published by Macmillan, this lively, cumulative, and repetitive recounting of a mule's discourteous behavior, combined with Nascimbeni's bright colorful, black-lined illustrations, offers an effective reminder to young Spanish speakers that saying por favor and gracias make life more enjoyable. Ages 5-7.

Lenain, Thierry

Tono se queda solo. (Tono Ends Up Alone.) Illus. by Delphine Durand. Translated by P. Rozarena. Zaragoza: Editorial Luis Vives, 2003. 32 pp. ISBN 84-263-48513. $9.95, paperback. Tono, who lives in Spain, is very fussy when choosing his friends. He won't accept Kelifa because he is an Arab, Manuel because his grandfather speaks only Portuguese, three girls because they disagree with him, and so on until he ends up alone in the schoolyard. Originally published by Editions Nathan-Paris, this is a heavy-handed depiction of a young, prejudiced bully. Despite a few Peninsular Spanish pronouns and conjugations (callaos, decis, id, vosotros), the effective, potato-like, cartoon illustrations and the simple rendition provide young Spanish speakers from the Americas a stark portrait of racism and intolerance. Ages 6-8.

For additional high-quality children's books in Spanish, go to the Barahona Center for the Study of Books in Spanish for Children and Adolescents' Web site

Isabel Schon is Director, Barahona Center for the Study of Books in Spanish for Children and Adolescents, California State University San Marcos.
COPYRIGHT 2004 Association for Childhood Education International
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Author:Schon, Isabel
Publication:Childhood Education
Date:Aug 15, 2004
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