HomeBooks by AgeAges 4-8Fables with a different flair

Fables with a different flair

By Luisa LaFleur, The Children’s Book Review
Published: February 15, 2010

I’ve written before about the spate of new books that are bilingual and aim to tell a story as well as teach another language. For the most part, these have been in Spanish. Recently, I received a few new books that tell fables from a Native American perspective. These have been interesting for me to read as they open up a whole new world of literature and they’ve been interesting for my kids as well because of their vivid and fantastic stories. Here’s a brief rundown of three of them:

Isabel and the Hungry Coyote/Isabel y el coyote habriento (Bilingual) Isabel and the Hungry Coyote/Isabel y el coyote habriento

by Keith Polette (Author), Esther Szegedy (Illustrator)

Reading level: Ages 4-8

Paperback: 32 pages

Publisher: Raven Tree Press (2009)

Source of book: Publisher

What to expect: Retelling of the classic tale, Little Red Riding Hood

Isabel and the Hungry Coyote is an inventive retelling of Little Red Riding Hood. Set in the American Southwest, Isabel is on her way to her grandmother’s adobe house with a basket full of tamales and hot chilies when she bumps into a coyote. The coyote strikes up a conversation with little Isabel and formulates a plan – he’ll outrun her to her grandmother’s house and then eat them both! Hi-jinks ensue!

Add this book to your collection: Isabel and the Hungry Coyote/Isabel y el coyote habriento

Moon Over the Mountain / Luna sobre la montana Moon Over the Mountain/Luna Sobre la Montana

by Keith Polette (Author), Michael Kress-Russick (Illustrator)

Reading level: Ages 4-8

Hardcover: 31 pages

Publisher: Raven Tree Press (2009)

Source of book: Publisher

What to expect: Retelling of a traditional Asian tale, with Spanish words interspersed in the text

In Moon Over the Mountain, Keith Polette retells the traditional Asian tale of a unhappy stone cutter who is never satisfied with the wishes granted to him. This tale has been transposed to the American Southwest and is made all the more intriguing because it is interspersed with Spanish words. The tale is a moral about finding your place in life and not coveting what others have. The stone cutter sees what others have and wishes to be like them but he finds that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. In the end, he becomes something we didn’t expect but he is happy. The book includes a glossary of terms.

Add this book to your collection: Moon Over the Mountain/Luna Sobre la Montana

Marco Flamingo Under the Sea / Las aventuras submarinas de Marco Flamenco (Marco Flamingo/Marco Flamenco) The Adventures of Marco Flamingo Under the Sea

by Sheila Jarkins

Reading level: Ages 4-8

Hardcover: 32 pages

Publisher: Raven Tree Press (2009)

Source of book: Publisher

What to expect: Sea creatures, fun in the ocean

In this installment of the Marco Flamingo books, Marco decides to explore the ocean. His flamingo friends think he’s a little loopy but he always manages to surprise them (and the reader)! This is a fun tale with simple but heartwarming illustrations about a flamingo that makes many new sea-faring friends. The story is simultaneously translated in Spanish so readers can choose to read in either language.

Add this book to your collection: The Adventures of Marco Flamingo Under the Sea

Luisa LaFleur reviews bilingual books for The Children’s Book Review to help parents choose the best books for their budding linguists. She was born in Argentina, attended school in NYC and speaks three foreign languages–Spanish, Italian and Portuguese. Formerly an editor in NYC, Luisa is currently a stay-at-home mom to two little ones.

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