Thursday, February 13, 2014

Winter Reading 2014 Olinguito Speaks Up

Olinguito resembles a stuffed animal with his round cheeks and his thumb always in his mouth, but there really is such an animal in the cloud forests of the High Andes. In this story he listens from his perch in the trees as the other animals talk. When he hears them teasing Tomas the turtle about the stories he tells, Olinguito come out of hiding to ask that Tomas continue his stories. Tomas tells of animals he knew in the Galapagos Islands, and others he has seen in his travels. Many of the animals he mentions are endangered or rarely seen. One famous friend he mentions is Lonesome George, about whom books have been written. When the animals realize Tomas's stories are true, they want more of them and then they encourage Olinguito to tell his own stories.

This book has so much going for it - the vibrant illustrations, the mention of rare animals, the bilingual text, the map and facts included in the back matter - are all reasons to share it with young readers. But there is also the emotional value of the shy character who comes to the defense of someone else when he sees them being teased and the respect he shows this much older character. Both of those are traits to encourage in children along with an interest in endangered species. There is a trailer that is narrated by the character, Olinguito.

I read an e-book provided by the publisher through NetGalley. It was published December 17, 2013.


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