To celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month, I wanted to discuss my favorite bilingual picture book from the past year (and perhaps favorite ever): Fire! Fuego! Brave Bomberos. In the book, we meet five firefighters who soon have to rush to the scene of a neighborhood fire, put out the flames, and make a dramatic last-minute rescue. Of course, since firefighting is a perennially popular topic for kids, this book has everything you'd expect to find—from a trip down a fire pole to an appearance by a couple of loyal dalmatians. Although the story follows a familiar trajectory, Susan Middleton Elya and Dan Santat make this book stand out with their wonderful execution.
Elya, who is renowned for her many Spanish/English picture books, doesn't miss a beat here. She manages to incorporate around forty Spanish words into her melodic stanzas seamlessly. Readers are often able to figure out what the words mean from the illustrations and are even occasionally offered help in pronouncing them by the very nature of the rhymes. (But if they still need help, there's a glossary in the back.)
|© 2012 by Dan Santat|