February 17, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Spanish Books, May 2012

Get the latest SLJ reviews every month, subscribe today and save up to 35%.

Chaired by Freda Mosquera, Broward County Library, FL

ARGUETA, Jorge. Guacamole: Una poema para cocinar/A Cooking Poem. tr. by Elisa Amado. illus. by Margarita Sada. 32p. (Cooking Poems Series). Groundwood/Tigrillo. 2012. Tr $18.95. ISBN 978-1-55498-133-5.
PreS-Gr 3–This fanciful, imaginative narrative is as much poetry as it is a recipe. What makes Argueta’s text sing is his liberal use of similes: the avocados are like “green precious stones” and the limes are “round as crystal marbles.” As the story progresses, Sada’s illustrations change the perspective. When the girl says that it’s time to cut the avocados, she describes the pits as “smooth and slippery, like a slide.” The illustration shows the narrator and two other children, now smaller than the avocado itself, sliding down the pit and into the hole created by its removal. Succeeding illustrations show the now diminutive children dancing on the table with salt spilled from a salt shaker and playing in the sink while washing the cilantro, which looks like a “little tree.” Readers can easily follow the recipe and make guacamole themselves. Adult supervision is encouraged when a knife must be used. This delightful story ends with an eco-friendly encouragement to save the seeds so that more trees can grow: “more colors, more flavors.” This selection is as tasty as the treat it describes!–Tim Wadham, Children’s Literature Consultant, Fenton, MO

AUCH, Alison. Todo sobre la temperatura/All About Temperature. ISBN 978-1-4296-6904-7. LC 2011000639.
CONRAD, David. La gravedad a nuestro alrededor/Gravity All Around. ISBN 978-1-4296-6906-1. LC 2011000631.
WATERS, Jennifer. Todo tipo de movimiento/All Kinds of Motion. ISBN 978-1-4296-6905-4. LC 2011000644.
WEBER, Rebecca. El poder de la energía/The Power of Energy. ISBN 978-1-4296-6907-8. LC 2011000626.
ea vol: 24p. (Pebble Plus Bilingüe: Ciencia física/Pebble Plus Bilingual: Physical Science Series). diags. photos. glossary. index. Web sites. CIP. Capstone/Pebble Plus. 2011. PLB $24.65.
K-Gr 2–These titles introduce children to temperature, gravity, movement, and energy. Each book defines the concept, gives a bit of background, applies the topic to real life, and ends with an experiment. The writing is simple, yet engaging, and the full-color photographs support the texts. Great additions to most collections.–Ana Rodriguez, Tamarac Elementary School, FL

BERTRAND, Diane Gonzales. The Park Our Town Built/El parque que nuestro pueblo construyó. illus. by Tanja Bauerle. 32p. CIP. Raven Tree. 2011. Tr $16.95. ISBN 978-1-936299-12-6. LC 2010936677.
K-Gr 3–This story, with hints of “The House That Jack Built,” is predominately told in English with a sprinkling of Spanish throughout. It tells of a community rallying together to build a park and to celebrate its dedication. The narrative opens with, “This is the mayor/who spoke to el hombre/who gave us la tierra/for el parque our town built.” The residents come through with providing the land; building the swings, benches, and a fountain; and in tending to the garden. The English text is in a black font and the Spanish is in red. The vibrant and dynamic illustrations complement the storytelling. This title is great for discussions about community and what individuals can accomplish when they work together.–Rhonda Jeffers, Coweta Public Library System, Newnan, GA

CAIN, Janan. Perdido y Solo. tr. by Amalia Martínez Céspedes. illus. by author. 32p. Cuento de Luz. 2011. Tr $15.95. ISBN 978-84-938240-8-2.
PreS-Gr 2This translation of Roonie B. Moonie: Lost and Alone (Illumination Arts, 2007) is about a little bee that is anxious to explore his world. With his gear and his mother’s advice, which is to fly only in open spaces, be wary of strangers, and to trust in his intuition, Zumbo Colmenar sets out to explore the garden. Bored, he lands and spots an unfamiliar object with his binoculars. Curiosity gets the better of him and he finds himself in a hollowed-out log filled with unfamiliar creatures. He quickly flies out and realizes that he is lost. He meets a bird that seems harmless and offers to help him find his way home, but his intuition tells him not to go with him. Then he asks a family of ladybugs for help, and the little bee is reunited with his mother. This story is sure to resonate with parents and teachers trying to teach children about stranger danger. It offers simple rules that youngsters should follow when they find themselves lost or in a questionable situation with a stranger. A note to parents offers ways to discuss the subject. The translation is clear and creates a sense of suspense throughout. The illustrations are colorful and set the right mood as well. A surefire way to teach an important lesson.Roberto Zapata, San Antonio Public Library

DE CERVANTES, Miguel. Entremeses. adapted by Emilia Navarro Ramírez. illus. by Roger Ibáñez. 224p. (Letras Mayúsculas: Clásicos Castellanos Series). Editorial BamBu. 2011. pap. $15.95. ISBN 978-84-8343-111-5.
Gr 8 Up–A worthwhile collection of six classics. Cervantes wrote these one-act plays as critiques of 17th century society and its many social ills. The beautifully illustrated theatrical pieces highlight the author’s appeal as a humorist. If not familiar with the “entremeses” as a genre, readers may well begin the book with the two impressive epilogues, one about Cervantes and the other analyzing a specific play, which explains and contextualizes the work. Color reproductions of art of the period help to situate the man and his writing within a historical context. This book is a gem on the topic, loaded with information, but also versatile as a fun read. The amusing plays will prove enjoyable to general audiences while the in-depth study sections will captivate serious students of literature. Although the language captures the life and diction of old Spain, the superb adaptations make these short comedies remarkably easy to understand. The ample footnotes, while optional for comprehension, offer rich insights.–Gisela Norat, Agnes Scott College, Decatur, GA

LUJÁN, Jorge. Con el sol en los ojos/With the Sun in My Eyes. tr. from Spanish by Janet Glass. illus. by Morteza Zahedi. 32p. CIP. Groundwood. 2012. Tr $17.95. ISBN 978-1-55498-158-8.
Gr 2-4–Simple, free-verse poems cultivate a child’s imagination–of corn kernels in the air that become constellations, of a doll being unloved, of exploring the silence within, of capturing the sun’s reflection in objects. An internationally acclaimed poet and illustrator partner to create a splendid work of art. Mixed-media illustrations combine contemporary, innovative techniques, utilizing paper scrapping, watercolors, and stamping set against monochrome backgrounds to enhance the imaginative ambience of the poems. Pastels and earth-tones color the pleasant Picasso-like figures, some full-bodied and others just containing outlines. Fish float in the air after nibbling a boy’s toes. A kite floats in the sky, pulling children into the air. Spanish and English texts sit side by side, allowing readers to compare the sounds and rhymes of the words. The complexity and vocabulary of some of the lengthier poems may be difficult for younger readers to grasp. The translation adequately reflects the original poems. An excellent addition to libraries and language-learning activities.–Cristi Jenkins, Fort Vancouver Regional Library, WA

MÁGICAS HISTORIAS PARA ANTES DE DORMIR: CUENTOS, FÁBULAS Y LEYENDAS. tr. from French by Julia Osuna Aguilar. 458p. Pirueta. 2011. pap. $18.95. ISBN 978-84-92691-92-0.
Gr 2-4–This collection includes more than 50 stories accompanied by vivid illustrations. The themed selections are divided by subjects, and most of them end happily, as fairy tales do; some like “El Castillo de Dama Fortuna” and “Llama” end with a moral. There are also pourquoi stories, such as “Por que la luna y el sol viven en el cielo,” which translates to “Why the Moon and the Sun Live in the Sky.” This anthology will definitely spark youngsters’ imaginations and keep them engaged. Perfect for read-alouds or one-on-one sharing.–Cindy Moreno, San Antonio Public Library, TX

MITTON, Tony. Don Tronchante: El valiente caballero que se ríe del peligro. tr. by Carolina Bastida Serra. illus. by Sara Warburton. 28p. CIP. Blume. 2012. Tr $16.95. ISBN 978-84-9801-491-4.
PreS-Gr 1–Don Tronchante has what it takes to be a brave knight, but he has no foes to fight so he entertains himself by cutting out paper dragons, playing chess with his dog, and tossing flying airplanes onto the ground. The excitement begins when a ferocious dragon appears. Just as he is about to slay it, Don Tronchante notices that the beast has funny hairs growing out of its nose, and he gets a case of the giggles. His laughter is so contagious that soon he and the dragon are howling together uncontrollably. His next challenger is a mean-faced giant. As Don Tronchante is about to strike him with his sword, he is tickled by the giant’s silly hat and starts laughing again. Don Tronchante’s final quest is to rescue a beautiful princess who is imprisoned in a Gothic tower. When she sees him, she thinks his metal suit is funny and they fall in love and laughter. The mixed-media, cartoon style illustrations include details such as a dragon-shaped topiary, a flattened mouse on the sole of the giant’s boot, and a small “Tower, Sweet, Tower” sampler displayed on the wall of the imprisoned princess. The rhyming text makes an especially delightful read-aloud. The occasional use of European verb conjugations gives the book an authentic feel of feudal Spain This picture book is also available in English as Sir Laughalot (Orchard, 2010). From its pitch-perfect rhymes, to its storybook happy ending, it’s a surefire hit.–Rebecca Hickman, Alvin Sherman Library at Nova, Fort Lauderdale, FL

SALDAÑA, René. The Lemon Tree Caper/La intriga del limonero. tr. by Natalia Rosales-Yeomans. illus. by Giovanni & Alexio Morra. 80p. (A Mickey Rangel Mystery/Colección Mickey Rangel, detective privado). CIP. Piñata. 2011. pap. $9.95. ISBN 978-1-55885-709-4. LC 2011025924.
Gr 3-6–The young detective introduced in The Case of the Pen Gone Missing/El caso de la pluma perdida (Piñata, 2009), is back. On a blistering hot day in South Texas, Mickey Rangel is on his way home from school when he hears shrieks coming from the house of Señorita Andrade (or Bruja Andrade, as she is known to many behind her back.) The woman is old, alone, smells like moth balls, and sports a nasty, hairy mole on her nose. They say she summons rattlesnakes and howls in the night, earning her the label of an old witch. But hearing her screams that day causes Mickey put on his detective hat and look beyond the rumors to investigate what is going on. He discovers that someone has stolen Señorita Andrade’s prize-winning lemons, and he’s on the case. This entertaining bilingual chapter book that will engage readers and draw them into the mystery.–Jessica McClinton López, King County Library System, Issaquah, WA

SMITH, Michael. Relatividad/Relativity. illus. by Octavio Oliva. 32p. CIP. East West Discovery. 2011. Tr $16.95. ISBN 978-0-9832278-3-0. LC 2011021813.
PreS-Gr 2–Smith introduces this complex concept through catchy rhythmical sequences, thereby making it appealing to the target audience. “The sky is high, the trees are low. The trees are high, the grass is low.” Even preschoolers will find the text amusing. The Spanish translation has the same poetic structure as the English, hence avoiding a literal translation without taking away the original elegance of the rhyming text. The engaging full-bleed illustrations offer a clear portrait of the comparisons made to explain relativity while the use of a large font is ideal to capture the attention of children. This book can be used by teachers and parents alike interested in awakening critical and analytical thinking in their kids. Additionally, this picture book could also enhance a storytime on opposites.–Patricia Rua-Bashir, The Brentwood Library, TN

SMITH, Michael. Thomas el T.rex/Thomas the T.rex: El viaje de un joven dinosaur a Los Angeles/The Journey of a Young Dinosaur to Los Angeles. illus. by Gayle Garner Roski. 40p. CIP. East West Discovery. 2011. Tr $19.95. ISBN 978-0-9832278-2-3. LC 2011018247.
Gr 3-6–In this book based on a true story, two cousins who belong to the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County’s Junior Scientist Club go on an excavation trip to Montana. While there, they discover “Thomas,” one of the 10 most complete T. rex skeletons in the world. The text is easily understood in both English and Spanish. The watercolor illustrations help readers visualize the various archaeological steps involved in a dig. Dinosaur fans will enjoy being part of this discovery. A bilingual “Facts about Thomas” table is appended.–Ana-Elba Pavon, Oakland Public Library, CA

Diversity and Cultural Competency Training: Collections & RA

Do you want to ensure that your library’s collections are diverse, equitable, inclusive, and well-read?

Do you want to become a more culturally literate librarian and a more effective advocate for your community?

We've developed a foundational online course—with live sessions on February 28 & March 14—that will explore key concepts essential to cultivating and promoting inclusive and equitable collections.