- TITLE: Don Quixote A Spanish Language Primer
- WRITTEN BY: Jennifer Adams
- ILLUSTRATED BY: Alison Oliver
- PAGES: 20
- ISBN: 9781423638759
- Available on Amazon, here.
I’m just going to go ahead and put a small disclaimer right here, I am obsessed with the BabyLit Book Collection. As soon as a friend of mine introduced me to them and their concept, I have been hooked. Among other amazing products, BabyLit sells children’s board books inspired by classic literature. The best part is they emphasize things like colors, or counting, or in this case – a new language. It’s just awesome. Okay, end rant about that. I was immediately drawn to adding this book to Addison’s collection for a few reasons. First, I think the cover and the illustrations are darling. They’re fun to look at and so colorful. Secondly, the construction of the book itself is perfect for young, impatient hands. I’m not worried about this book getting torn up and destroyed, the pages are thick and sturdy. Third, I love the idea that it is part of a collection of books that are all the same size and shape, it makes them look excellent on the shelf together, which is really important to me (I’m quite a big “shelfie” fan these days…).
Super Speedy Summary
It’s quite difficult to summarize this book because it’s not so much a story as it is small glimpses into the classic novel. Each spread contains an English page and a Spanish page, the mirror image of each other. It introduces characters and themes from Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes such as windmills, horses, Dulcinea, and Sancho Panza. There is a one to one relationship between every page, so it is easy to see what words correlate to the English and Spanish sides.
Is this book emotional or psychologically deep? No. Does it have immense value in my daughter’s collection? Absolutely. As you may know, Addison is 50% Hispanic, 50% Caucasian (and 100% adorable, am I right?). Because AJ has a mix of cultures to draw from in her life, I find it extremely important to also introduce her to the languages her families may speak. In this case, it is English and Spanish. Imagine my delight when I found this book! As I mentioned before, there is a 1:1 ratio between the English and Spanish pages, meaning we can easily say “castle” is “el castillo” because they correlate. Additionally, the photos help bring it all back to concrete terms.
I love reading through this book with Addison as practice. It helps me sharpen my own Spanish skills (I’m a beginner / novice) and also helps my pronunciation and confidence when speaking. If you’ve ever learned a new language, you might know that the hardest thing to do is to speak it in front of other people who know that language very well. When my husband hears me practicing the words with Addison, it gives me a sense of pride for him to know I’m putting in the effort to connect our daughter to his side of the family. It’s wonderful! I’ve also learned that introducing your children to new languages at a younger age when they are still learning their primary one is an excellent way to teach. Not only will they likely pick it up more quickly, if they are given the opportunity to practice it and develop their skills further, it is more likely the language will stick long term.
I will also say that this book (as well as the others we have purchased from the BabyLit collection) has inspired me to read the original classics myself. I haven’t read Don Quixote before, but now I feel compelled to – and I believe it will lead to a greater understanding and appreciation for the references in AJ’s version of the book. I can imagine years from now when she’s a bit older, us talking through this book and going beyond the English / Spanish correlation and talking more about the characters and the story it is inspired by.
Learning a new language can be made easier with a 1:1 correlation, and practice books with tangible stories and characters can help get everyone involved in the process.
I may have to come back and review this book again after I have read the original Don Quixote book, but for now, we give this book 4 1/2 stars. It is great for teaching a new language (and can technically be used in reverse – if you know Spanish but want to learn English) which makes it even more awesome. I’m eager to understand the correlation between this book and the original.
Sorry we were a little late today, the whole family was sick with an icky stomach bug. Luckily we are feeling much better now!
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