Thursday, July 21, 2011

MANANA, IGUANA by Ann Whitford Paul, illustrated by Ethan Long

Lexile    AD370          Pages    30          Ages     4-8
 AR Quiz No. 80866 EN Fiction
  IL: LG - BL: 1.9 - AR Pts: 0.5
  AR Quiz Types: RP, RV, VP

This is a great book to introduce a first foreign language to your little ones.  Using a liberal sprinkling of basic Spanish words - days of the week, animals, and short, familiar phrases, the author weaves a Little Red Hen type tale that is not only fun but also carries a good lesson.

"On Monday, lunes, Iguana twitched her tail happily.  'Let's celebrate spring with a party on Saturday.'"  Her friends Conejo (rabbit), Tortuga (tortoise), and Culebra (snake) think it's a great idea - "Yes! Let's!"  But when Iguana asks who will help write the invitations, no one is willing.  "Yo no, Not I," say her friends, all giving excuses as to why they can't help.  "I'd do it too fast," says Conejo.  "I'd do it too slow," says Tortuga, while Culebra says, "I'll do it manana, Iguana, if I grow some arms!"   The same thing happens with all of the party preparations throughout the week, the excuse always being the same.

When Saturday (sabado) arrives all of Iguanas friends are excited.  "We're ready for our fiesta, let's go greet our guests!"

Iguana says, "NO!  I did everything, and now I, and I alone, will greet my guests at my fiesta!" and proceeds to do just that.  Everyone has a great time - everyone that is, except Conejo, Tortuga, and Culebra who go and hide, watching the festivities but not participating.

When the fiesta is over Iguana says, "I'm too tired to clean up.  I'll do it manana," and is soon asleep.

From his hiding place Conejo says, "Iguana's really worn out!" and Tortuga comes out of his shell saying, "She should be.  She did everything."  Her friends realize how hard Iguana worked while they did nothing but play and watch, expecting to reap the rewards of her hard work.  Ashamed, they work all night to clean up the mess from the festivities while Iguana sleeps.  When she awakens she is amazed.  "Gracias! Thank you!" she says.  "Who wants to share the leftovers with me for breakfast?"  They all answer, "Yo si! I will!" and they all sit down and enjoy together as friends should.

The artwork in Manana, Iguana is simply amazing.  Brightly colored and with a flavor of the Southwest, Ethan Long captures facial expressions to perfection, from everyone's excitement about the party, to Iguana's frustration at having to do everything, to her friends' shame at having done nothing. Children will laugh at the idea of animals playing Tic, Tac, Toe and drawing graffiti on a cactus (another lesson that could be discussed!)

The lesson of being rewarded only for what you work for is one that is being lost in today's world. I think we need to get back to the days when children learned about disappointment and frustration right alongside happiness and pride in a job well done, like Iguana's friends did. Manana, Iguana gets that lesson across in a fun and sometimes funny way. There is a glossary of the Spanish words used at the front of the book making it simple to translate the Spanish words used. I liked it so much I'm going to purchase a copy for my permanent collection!

Hard Work and Feliz Lectura!
Miss Laurie

Manana, Iguana is available at any branch of the Lake County Public Library, or click here and with your library card number and PIN reserve your copy for easy pickup at the Circulation Desk. In most cases, if we don't have a copy we can get it manana! : )

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

I LIKE MYSELF! by Karen Beaumont, illustrated by David Catrow

Lexile    Not Rated
Pages    32
Ages     3-8

"Even when I look a mess, I still don't like me any less, 'cause nothing in this world, you know, can change what's deep inside, and so . . . ."

This little girl knows what's really important! I absolutely love this book from cover to cover - the message is something we need to instill in all of our children and the illustrations are colorful and fun. "I Like Myself!" is rated as being for ages 3-8 but I think it carries a message that is ageless. We all need to love ourselves just as we are - warts, wrinkles, and all!

Happy Reading!
Miss Laurie (who likes herself! : ))

"I Like Myself!" is available through the Lake County Public Library. Visit any branch or click here to place a hold for pickup at your favorite branch.