Susanna Leonard Hill features Perfect Picture Book Friday on her blog. This is a wonderful resource if you are wondering what books to give as gifts, needing material for a lesson, or just looking for a great book to read. Here is a list of books by category. Each book listed has a link to a review, information about that book, and resources for activities. There is also an alphabetical list.
Today I am going to review a book that I noticed on display at the library a couple of weeks ago. Yes…I was judging a book by the cover. It was too cute to leave on display. It had to come home with me.
Written by Susan Hood
Illustrated by Melissa Sweet
Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books 2012
Ages 4 and up
Themes: Friendship, Kindness, Endangered Species
Synopsis: (from Susan Hood’s website) Spike was a monster. Or so he thought. He’d shake his spikes, swoosh his tail, and bare his teeth. But el pato, el armadillo and el campañol weren’t afraid. All they could do was laugh at Spike. Until one day a real monster appeared…. This book, about the power of kindness, is based on a real endangered Mexican salamander called an axolotl. It includes facts about the animals and a glossary of Spanish words.
Lines From the Book: I usually include beginning lines in my reviews, but I wanted to show how Spanish is incorporated. Notice that Spanish words are italicized in the text of the book.
One look, and the animals knew what to do.
“¡El monstruo!” quacked el pato. “Flap and fly! Flap and fly!”
“¡El monstruo!” cried el armadillo. “Dig and hide! Dig and hide!”
“¡El monstruo!” said el campañol. “Run inside! Run inside!”
Only Spike was left to face el monsturo.
Resources: This book provides a great opportunity to discuss endangered species and follow up with activities Discuss endangered species and then write Animal Poems (guidelines HERE). Find coloring pages for endangered species HERE. Online matching game for endangered species HERE. Learn more animal names in Spanish HERE and HERE. HERE is an online flashcard activity to learn animal names in Spanish. HERE is a recent article in New York Times about the plight of the axolotl.
Why I Like This Book: This story is a delightful tale of friendship. I love that is has Spanish sprinkled throughout. Not only will kids enjoy the story, they will love learning the Spanish words. Also, at the back is a nonfiction section. It tells about the axolotl, which is an endangered salamander. Spike is an axolotl. The other animals in the book are featured in the nonfiction section, too. Then, there is a Spanish glossary to go along with the words in the book. I thought this was an exceptional format. And I can’t leave out the fact that Melissa Sweet is the illustrator. She brings the text to life with illustrations that are vibrant and beautiful! After all…it is the cover that caught my eye!