I had a whole family storytime planned for Cinco de Mayo, with tissue paper flowers as the craft. But Wednesday night was unexpectedly and unusually hot. Most of my usual group was at a special event, and everyone else was probably at the beach or hiding out indoors. It ended up being just me and Olivia, one of the kindergarten girls who’s been coming for several years. So instead of the storytime I had planned, we read Elephant and Piggie books together for half and hour. She would read Gerald and I would read Piggie, and then we would switch. Her dad read all of the additional characters. She read amazingly well, with lots of expression and even different voices! Afterwards, we made tissue paper flowers. It was a fun and peaceful evening, the perfect antidote to a long, hot day where everyone (including my own kids) seemed cranky and unhappy.
So here is the storytime I planned to do (to be honest, I was a little relieved because, although I took Spanish in college, and have studied it on my own a bit, I’m still nervous about my pronunciation, especially those tricky rr‘s). There are some wonderful bilingual books though. Here are a few:
Oh No, Gotta Go! by Susan Middleton Elya; illustrated by G. Brian Karas (Amazon.com link)
My daughter loves this book, and I read it to her preschool class the other day. Rhymed verse tells the story of a little girl who is out for a drive with her family when she realizes she desperately needs “un bano!” Unfortunately, it is Sunday, and all the shops are closed. A construction worker gives her parents directions to a restaurant. The family rushes in, only to find an enormous line leading out of the women’s bathroom. This book seamlessly blends Spanish words into the text in a way that makes it easy for kids to decipher the meaning. The story is funny and definitely something kids (and parents!) can relate to. There is also a sequel called Oh No, Gotta Go #2, which is about exactly what you might think.
Perros! Perros! Dogs! Dogs! by Ginger Foglesong Guy; illustrated by Sharon Glick (Amazon.com link)
This is a fun, simple book in English and Spanish, with lots of repetition. I read it to my daughter’s class as well, and had the kids yell out “Espera!” (“Wait!”), whenever we got to those parts. They liked the illustrations of dogs getting muddy, having a bath, and going down the slide. Lots of rr‘s for me to butcher in this one, but I love it anyway.
Rubia and the Three Osos by Susan Middleton Elya; illustrated by Melissa Sweet (Amazon.com link)
Another book by the author of Oh No, Gotta Go! This is a retelling of Goldilocks and the Three Bears, again in rhymed verse with Spanish words scattered throughout the text. My daughter (who has always had a kind of disturbing fondness for the Goldilocks story) loves this one as well. In this version, Goldilocks runs away, but feeling badly for all of her naughtiness, comes back to the bears’ house with some homemade sopa (soup) and tries to set things right. Another book I like by this author is Bebé Goes to the Beach (illustrated by Steven Salerno). I’ve been impressed by her ability to blend Spanish words and phrases into the text of funny stories that kids enjoy.
Faster! Faster! Más Rápido! Más Rápido! by Leslie Patricelli (Amazon.com link)
I read this one for Toddler Time this week. It’s a bilingual version of a board book about a girl playing “horsey” with her father. As she begs him to go “Faster! Faster!” she imagines him transforming into a dog, a rabbit, a horse, a dolphin, and finally…a turtle. The text consists almost entirely of the phrase “Faster! Faster!” so it’s easy to get the kids and families to learn and repeat it in Spanish: “Más Rápido!” Patricelli has a similar book that I also love for baby and toddler storytimes called Higher! Higher! (there’s a bilingual version of that one too).
Uno, Dos, Tres Deditos (One Little, Two Little, Three Little Fingers)
I did this song both with my daughter’s class, and at Toddler Time. I sing it first in English and then in Spanish:
One little, two little, three little fingers,
Four little, five little, six little fingers,
Seven little, eight little, nine little fingers,
Ten little fingers on your hands.
Uno, dos, tres deditos,
Quatro, cinco, seis deditos,
Siete, ocho, nueve deditos,
Diez deditos son.
I did this one for my daughter’s class and for Toddler Time too. It’s about making hot chocolate. It’s fun to repeat it, going faster and faster each time. At the end, I have the kids mime blowing on their hot chocolate and sipping it loudly. Click here to see a short Youtube video with the tune.
Uno, dos, tres, CHO (hold up three fingers, one at a time)
Uno, dos, tres, CO
Uno, dos, tres, LA
Uno, dos, tres, TE
Bate, Bate, el chocolate! (Mime stirring with your hands).
What are your favorite books and songs in English and Spanish?
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