Wednesday, March 07, 2007

review: Sometimes/Algunas veces by Keith Baker

Sometimes/Algunas veces written and illustrated by Keith Barker. Green Light Readers, 1999; 2007 (978-0-15-205961-3) $3.95 pb

One of my favorite easy readers is now available in an English/Spanish edition. Less is more in this positive but never preachy little look at feelings and self-esteem. The star is an active and adventurous alligator, who reveals that "Sometimes I am happy. Sometimes I am sad." But no matter what happens, "I like who I am. I like what I do." The gentle rhythm of the text gives it the qualities of a song, making its simplicity and repetition feel natural, instead of forced or babyish. Baker's vibrant and expressive acrylic illustrations fill in all the details the text leaves out, showing busy scenes of the alligator as he enjoys his daily life.

This is an unusually attractive beginner's book, an excellent choice for sibling reading. The short sentences also make it a good choice for those learning English or Spanish as a new language, and though some of the flow of the original text is lost in the Spanish translation, reading both versions together--"I like who I am. Me gusta quien soy. I like what I do. Me gusta lo que hago."--works surprisingly well. (2-6)

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