06 March 2011

Bonjour, Hola, Howdy, Hey

I never studied Spanish. In middle school I begged my mother to let me take French, and she did, against her better judgment. I took French classes all the way through high school, passed the AP test, which meant I did not have to study a language in college, and now can barely say au revoir.

I know some very basic Spanish, but it's not much beyond hola and muchos gracias. I work with Spanish speaking students and have had colleagues from Central America, yet I still can't wrap my tongue around the language. Which makes reading the books in this post especially fun. I think Isaac laughs more at the way I butcher the Spanish words, than he does at the story. Not that he knows how to pronounce them any better than I do.

Ann Whitford Paul has written a series of books about Iguana, Culebra, Tortuga and Conejo. The first, Manana Iguana, is an entertaining rewrite of The Little Red Hen in which Iguana plans a party expecting help from her friends who have one excuse after another to let her do all of the work. But they come through in the end. The follow-up books, Fiesta Fiasco, Count on Conejo and Tortuga in Trouble, highlight each of the characters in their own adventure.

Throughout the books, Spanish vocabulary is interspersed in a way that readers can figure out the translation using contextual clues. They are fun reads, the first being my favorite. Isaac really liked Tortuga's story.

Matt has more experience with Spanish than I do, so he is the better choice to read these books at bedtime. But sometimes it's as much fun to laugh at mommy as it is to hear a good story. And a few laughs before bedtime is always a good thing.

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