I first learned about Canticos bilingual books when a box appeared on my doorstep last spring. I will occasionally review board books and "first books" here, but not often. The theme of this blog, the driving force that led me to launch it some 500+ posts ago, is to undermine any thought that picture books are "baby" books and should be abandoned by first grade, or sooner.
Picture books are for EVERYONE, right? That's my personal and professional belief. Certainly, there are target ages for ideal audiences for particular books. That is certainly true for boardbooks, and for early concept books, many alphabet and number books, etc. These have less broad appeal forolder ages, of course, but many can serve in a variety of ways for older readers, particularly as mentor text.
Cantacos First Concepts, 2020
Boardbooks, not so much. Even so, babies and toddlers are a very important part of "everyone". That's why I read and enjoyed the original sample bilingual boardbooks and wrote a post about them here. At the time I was especially impressed with the well-developed online resources related to the books, the text, and the recurring characters, including songs and videos.
Their promise at that time was that there would be more to offer, and that has now happened. Their books now include concepts like opposites, feelings, shapes and patterns, alphabet, etc. They are tot-friendly sized, very sturdily bound, with interiors including lift flaps, folds, and even a few books that fully extend. The characters are appealing and recurring throughout the series, providing effective repetition that leads to vocabulary development, both oral and word recognition. Most importantly, the bilingual pairings are simple and consistent, with that potential musical link to trigger memory.The website offerings include plush toys and other related materials, and an app has been developed to make it easy to use musical links on mobile devices.
Aside: let me mention here that putting mobile devices into kids' hands is NOT my recommendation. Putting actual books into their hands IS ALWAYS a better choice. Kids, especially babies, value most what their loved adults value. They will choose books, if that is what those loved ones value.
In this case, the books themselves are colorful, durable, and engaging, including fine motor interactions. Core book concepts related to top/bottom, front/back, page turns, concepts of words, and language patterns will develop with shared and independent use. In this case, the bilingual aspect is an enormous benefit for English and Spanish audiences. While language is developing in the first three years, growing brains are particularly able to expand the neural pathways that enhance learning of MANY languages. If these books are used and paired with the musical options they could even be used effectively into early childhood to begin bilingual reading, writing, and speaking.
These latest books were sent to me with no promise of a review of any kind, but I don't hesitate to say that they offer valuable tools for entertainment, learning, and love of books in the youngest audiences. Take a look at these and related materials HERE, at CanticosWorld.com.
Keep in mind that you can access some of their materials for free, including downloadable files. These books are now on their way to my local public library to include in their baby/family collection.