book reviews spanish language in play
El Paseo de Rosie (Rosie's Walk), by Pat Hutchins, is about a hen named Rosie who takes a walk before dinner. The simple language accurately describes Rosie's uneventful experience, while the bold, bright illustrations depict a more exciting narrative. More than once Rosie nearly becomes the fox's supper! This is a great all-around read aloud. It is especially useful, however, for parents who are not comfortable with Spanish, as the rhythmic repetition provides comfort, while the illustrations invite the readers to giggle at the fox's foiled attempts to capture the oblivious Rosie. 


¡Yo quiero una mascota! (I want a pet!) by Lucía Serrano is about a child who carefully considers the merits of potential pets. As she contemplates each one, she recognizes that the rhino is too big, the giraffe is too long, the crocodile has too many teeth, and the penguin would get too hot. She finally comes up with the (almost) perfect pet because it does not share any of those problems. The simple drawings are wonderfully charming and expressive. ¡Yo quiero una mascota! is a great read aloud because it’s a fun story full of simple and repetitive language that introduces new (and interesting!) vocabulary on each page.


Silencio Ruido (Quiet Loud) by Leslie Patricelli is a super fun read aloud because it provides an excuse to get really loud. Children will love alternating between making lots of noise (banging on pots, barking like a dog, and clicking around in high heels) and doing quiet activities (making snow angels, reading books, and shuffling in slippers). The simple, bright, and entertaining illustrations perfectly reflect the short, descriptive Spanish phrases; so you don’t even need to be well-versed in Spanish to understand the text. As a bonus this book introduces extra vocabulary words at the end in case you want to act out even more quiet vs loud scenarios.


Uncle Monarch and the Day of the Dead by Judy Goldman, Ghost Wings by Barbara M. Joose, and Calavera Abecedario by Jeanette Winter, are a wonderful trio of children’s books that illuminate the many and varied ways that this special holiday is celebrated throughout Mexico. These books not only provide a vivid depiction of Mexican traditions, they are a wonderful way to connect with your child about the loss of a loved one and how they can be tenderly remembered, and even celebrated. Although these books are written in English, they are full of rich Spanish vocabulary including cempazuchitl, ofrendas, papel picado, mole, calaveras, and pan de muerto. 


Veloz como el grillo
Written by Audrey Wood and illustrated by Don Wood, is told from the point of view of a child that is full of imagination and discovery. Each delightfully illustrated page perfectly conveys the story, so even if the adult reader isn't comfortable with Spanish, the meaning is unmistakable. This is the kind of book that can be read over and over again with your child because there is always more to discover on each page. 




¿Quien es la bestia? 
by Keith Baker This book uses simple language with vivid illustrations to create a suspenseful story that ends with a profound twist. 




I like It When... Me gusta cuando
This bilingual children's picture book by Mary Murphy, is the perfect selection to snuggle up with your young child before bedtime. The crisp, clean illustrations and the simple, sweet phrases illuminate the ordinary, yet special everyday interactions between parent and child.   



Vamos a Cazar un Oso/We're Going on Bear Hunt
Go on a reading adventure with your child with this book by Michael Rosen. It's a fun and familiar story with repetitive phrases and wonderful watercolor illustrations. Available in both English and Spanish, you might get both! 
Suggested Spanish Book List
Try these great Spanish books to read aloud!  

Reading aloud in Spanish with your child is a great way to build vocabulary and confidence in the language. Try these recommended books from our reading list! 
Arrorró, Mi Niño: Latino Lullabies and Gentle Games by Lulu Delacre, is a marvelous, bilingual collection of songs and finger play games. If you aren’t familiar with the tunes, the score of each song is conveniently located in the back of the book; this allows for more room on the pages for comforting illustrations and easy to read text. 

This book serves as a wonderful bed-time read aloud; you can work your way through each song going from page to page while enjoying the illustrations, or just pick one or two games and leave it at that! Once you know the songs and accompanying hand motions by heart, of course, you won’t even need the book. This can come in handy if you’re out and about and need a simple and fun way to engage your child (like on an airplane!).

In each illustration there is a parent or grandparent holding a baby or sweetly interacting with a young child, while going about their everyday activities such as playing in the park, visiting a farm, and getting ready for bed. If you treasure the bed time routine and would like to learn a few new songs and games, or if you just love singing and cuddling with your child, this would be a great book for you! 
¡Pato! ¡Conejo! (Duck! Rabbit!) by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Tom Lichtenheld is both clever and delightful. The same, simple outline appears on (almost) every page with just the colors and background changing. Depending on the perspective, however, it looks like a duck or a rabbit! The language is simple and repetitive, yet the story line is hilarious, not to mention the cute twist in the end which will lead to a whole new argument all over again!  
Oso en un cuadrado (Bear in a Square) by Stella Blackstone is a bright, cheery bilingual book that incorporates numbers and shapes into a fun read aloud (not an easy feat!). On each page there are new shapes to look for including hearts in the queen's hair, moons in the cave, and zigzags on a clown. At the end of the book there are vocabulary pages to review that are visually inviting.