Countdown for Nochebuena

Little, Brown. Oct. 2023. 40p. Tr $15.99. ISBN 9780316467919.
Toddler-PreS–It is December 24th, and a family of five is ready to drive and join others as they prepare for Nochebuena. In this festive counting picture book, multiracial characters of varying ages delight in sweets and food from different Latin American countries, play instruments, and dance. The simple and semi-rhyming Spanglish narrative, accompanied by bold numbers counting up to 12 and back down to 1, introduces a few Spanish vocabulary words and other straightforward Spanish terms that children from heritage families will likely recognize. This book is perfect for a bilingual Christmas story time where attendees can clap, drum, and dance along with the book’s characters. Cuban American artist Bergstrom’s seasonal color scheme emphasizes red and green, as jolly pictorial elements of presents, dishes, and Christmas décor complement the holiday setting. A glossary with definitions for all the Spanish terms (other than names of food) is included. This book highlights family ties and a Latinx-based celebration of Christmas Eve.
VERDICT With sweet imagery, this simple counting book that celebrates family, friends, and Christmas will appeal to children and adults.

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