Monday, March 24, 2008

everything old is new again

I'm learning that it pays to keep books my son likes, even when he seems to lose interest--it often comes back. This is a favorite once again:

Can You Count Ten Toes? by Lezlie Evans. Illustrated by Denis Roche. Houghton Mifflin, 1999; 2004 (0-618-49487-1) $5.95 pb

I would have to like this book no matter what, because it has that all-too-rare and wonderful thing: a pronunciation guide after each word! Luckily, that's not all there is to like. A short rhyming text introduces a different language per page, with various items to count from one to ten in that language; uncrowded illustrations show a cat-person enjoying around-the-world adventures with a group of children. A continent map at the end shows the parts of the world where each language is spoken, including 20 countries for Spanish and 26 for French. An enjoyable book for fans of both language and counting. (3-8)

Can You Greet the Whole Wide World? by Lezlie Evans. Illustrated by Denis Roche. Houghton Mifflin, 2006 (978-0618-56327-2) $16.00

This companion to Can You Count Ten Toes? follows a cat-kid on his first day at school. Short rhymes introduce each new situation he encounters and the phrase required--"good morning," "what's your name?" and so on--and the phrase is then given in 12 languages, with a pronunication guide after each one. Again, a color-coded map at the end shows where the different languages are spoken, an intriguing visual which could potentially spark some interesting discussions. Chunky, simply-lined illustrations have a somewhat flat affect but are attractively bright. (4-8)

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