Saturday, May 7, 2016

Spring Reading 2016 Los Pollitos/Little Chickies


Los Pollitos is based on a very popular nursery rhyme in Spanish about little chickies. The original rhyme in Spanish tells the story of baby chicks hatching out of their eggs, crying because they are cold and hungry, then eating and snuggling up to mama for a nap. The English version tells the same story, also in rhyme. The illustrations are filled with chubby-cheeked yellow chicks and a mama hen in warm browns. I love the way the chickies say "Pio" rather than the "Peep, peep" that is often seen in English language books for young children. 

Families and teachers looking for bilingual books (English/Spanish), have a new resource in Canticos from Susie Jaramillo. Their unique presentation sets them apart from others in that genre. If you have read others, then you are familiar with the different ways the text is arranged. Sometimes the text is written in one language on one page, then in the other language on the facing page. In other books, the languages alternate lines on the page. Both ways can seem a little overwhelming because you feel that you have to read all the words, and that can mean a lot of repetition. But the Canticos books are put together with an accordion fold that lets you read through the story in one language, then flip it and read back through in the other language. There are also interactive elements like flaps to peek beneath and wheels to spin. The text and illustrations form a recipe for fun and educational books for young readers.

I read an ebook provided by the publisher through NetGalley.

"As a Latina mom exposed to songs and traditions from both the US and my native Venezuela, I've had a hard time finding books, apps and videos of the nursery rhymes I grew up with," says Brooklyn-based author-artist Susie Jaramillo. "In talking to people in both Latino and non-Latino communities, I realized this was missing from bookshelves and digital platforms everywhere." Jaramillo recently left the advertising world to apply her brand building and storytelling skills to the children's world. "In addition to promoting bilingual/multilingual learning, we hope the books, apps and videos also promote a sense of community and connect kids, especially Latino kids, to their culture."

Canticos has developed an innovative reversible design that offers the continuous original story in its native Spanish language one one side, and a new rhyming English language version on the other. A reader can read the story through one one side, get to the end, and flip the book to read the story in the second language. The English adaptation of the song is as catchy and lyrical as the Spanish version and sure to enchant new audiences not familiar with the original song.  The book is also interactive, with lift-the-flap and turn-the-wheel novelty features to encourage interaction and fine motor skills.

"A thoroughly engaging, ingeniously designed Latino celebration."
-STARRED review, Kirkus

"Belong[s] on every early reader's bookshelf... Sing your heart out while teaching your little one some Spanish with this adorable, bilingual book!"
-Heather Newman,

"Truly worthy and recommended for the shelves of every
public and school library."
-Luciana Acosta, School Library Journal

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