You know I’m all about anything that makes reading seem like the enjoyable pastime we all know it truly is, so Carmen Oliver’s Bears Make the Best Reading Buddies hits my niche dead on. Adelaide has no need for her teacher to assign her a reading buddy;
She has brought her own – a bear. Her bear likes to help her pick out good books to read, is a great listener, and curls up to create a comfy space for her to read in. Adelaide’s teacher, Mrs. Fitz-Pea needs a little cajoling, but eventually, even she sees that bears do, in fact, make pretty great reading buddies. This book is cute without being cutesy, and pro-book without being preachy or pushy – Trust me: even the youngest kids know when an author is proselytizing and does not enjoy it. But both the author and the illustrator do a great job of showing that reading is awesome, without making it seem like they’re trying to indoctrinate your kid into the cult of bibliophiles. (Really, the only acceptable cult, let’s be honest.)
While we’re at it, here’s another book to add to your bookworm’s (ever-expanding) shelf –
Little Chickies/Los Pollitos, by Susie Jaramilo, which is written in both English & Spanish, for some bilingual fuzzy adorableness. The form of the book is excellent – an accordion-style hardcover text with all English on one side, all Spanish on the other, for both easy reference and easy of reading. It’s apparently based on a children’s nursery rhyme that’s very well known in the Spanish-speaking world, which is pretty awesome. Kids love singing, and they don’t particularly care what language they’re singing in – As a matter of fact, the more languages they can show off in, in my experience, all the better. (Back when I was teaching preschool, the ‘good morning’ song that was basically just good morning in about 15 different languages, was a perpetual favorite: Every kid who learned it would eventually start bragging about how many languages they could speak, according to their parents.) It also matches up with the Cantico app, where you can watch the song in English, Spanish, Japanese; play games with the little chicks, and practice your Spanish language skills. So, show your kid some squishy birdies who say “pio, pio, pio”, learn a new song along with them (sorry: you are going to have that stuck in your head now, but at least it’s not Calliou!), and grow your bilingual bookworm, all at the same time.
(Both of these books were provided to me by Netgalley, for honest reviews.)