From School Library Journal
Kindergarten-Grade 2–This story of a Hispanic boys birthday party starts with A is for adornos (decorations) hung up by Papá. and ends with Z is for zorro (fox) from Dad with a kiss. A glossary at the books beginning helps with the pronunciation and meaning of the Spanish words. Unfortunately, the rhyming couplets not only sound strained and awkward, but they also omit the definite articles. Karass illustrations definitely set the mood with reds, greens, purples, yellows, pinks, and oranges that are bright and bold but never garish. They also do a good job of giving clues to the meaning of the Spanish words.–Catherine Callegari, Gay-Kimball Library, Troy, NH
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K-Gr. 2. Bilingual classrooms, and teachers seeking materials for Cinco de Mayo activities, will seize this small, square abecedarian book, which incorporates Spanish vocabulary words from A
into a singsong, predominantly English-language narrative about a child's birthday fiesta: "S
is for salsa, a sauce and a dance. T
is for tarjetas
from uncles and aunts." At their best, Elya's verses bounce as easily between languages as they did in Oh, No, Gotta Go!
(2003), which was also buoyantly illustrated by Karas. Sometimes the strain of adhering to both the theme and the verse structure is obvious, but the backdrop of a familiar, fun-filled occasion may smooth the way to learning--and even very silly rhymes can be useful mnemonics. A glossary with pronunciations (but no articles) opens the book, along with a discussion of the Spanish alphabet, which here includes rr
as well as the usual ch, ll, n
. The book's petite size will limit its read-aloud use to smaller groups. Jennifer MattsonCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved