I have a three-and-a-half-year-old nephew who loves to be read to, so I’m always on the lookout for books that he might like. While he loves books with silly stories, he’s always loved books that have detailed illustrations. They don’t necessarily have to be colorful– one of his favorite books is the black and white Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day–but he loves when I ask him to locate something on the page. He’ll concentrate really hard, then give me a really big smile when he’s able to point out whatever object I’ve asked him to find.
¡Bravo!, written by Ginger Foglesong Guy and illustrated by René King Moreno, was an instant hit with him. I was initially intrigued by the book because it’s written in both English and Spanish. My family is Mexican American, but my siblings and I are woefully unskilled when it comes to speaking Spanish, so the extent of the kid’s exposure to Spanish is Dora the Explorer and being around some of the children he attends day care with.
The story is fairly simple: children look around their yard for various objects, then form a parade for their family. The main themes in the book are based on exploration/discovery and on family. Almost every line that’s written in English is immediately followed by the Spanish translation: “Let’s go! ¡Vamos! Let’s look! ¡Mira!” Personally, I thought the writing got a little repetitive at times, but the kid was riveted.
I’ve tried finding good Latin@-related children’s literature in the past, with little success. A lot of it is great, but is meant for older children. I like that this book is simple and geared toward younger children, and that the illustrations reflect a modern Latin@ family. The illustrations–my favorite part of the book–are beautiful to look at. So many other Latin@ children’s books have illustrations of dusty little pueblos in Mexico; this book is bright and colorful, and the illustrations are a lot more accessible to children. If you’re looking for a multicultural children’s book to add to your collection, consider this one!
¡Bravo! was released on August 24, 2010 by Greenwillow Books, an imprint of HarperCollins.