May 27, 2022

More Bilingual Board Books for Lively Language Development

With interactive flip/flap pages, three recent titles from the Bilingual Media producers, CANTICOS, are filled with fun and foundational vocabulary. When I first had my hands on a few other titles in the ever-expanding offerings of this publisher/producer, I was happy to lend my support in reviews, HERE and HERE. Featuring colorful recurring characters with childlike curiosity and cleverness, basic concepts of naming, colors, counting, etc. appear in sturdy board books with a variety of interactivity features to entice young engagement.


The latest three titles do not disappoint, beginning with KIKI CAN! Kiki Puede! I've never yet met a child who didn't wish they could fly, and this little chick is no exception. despite repeated reminders from FRIENDS (who appear to be kindly "just saying" or being realistic), Kiki continues to make attempts at flying in innovative ways. Results are revealed under successive flaps, with bilingual parallel text throughout, including exclamations. 

Mama Hen reminds Kiki about all that she has learned, how she might still find a way to make her dream come true. That little flash of encouragement leads Kiki on a STEM-ish effort that will please little audiences and adults, too.

There's much to love about the familiar characters and interactivity for repeat audiences. That is enhanced by the 6"x6" kid-friendly size, shape, and patterns, with repeated phrases and resilience.

In SEASONS: Las Estaciones, Kiki is joined by her chick friends, Ricky and Nicky, as they move through four seasons, just a few pages at a time. With simple sentences and sensory experiences (what they see, smell, touch, and feel) they conclude what the current season is, revealed under a flap, also with bilingual words. In the process this little team of friends meet a few familiar characters and portray familiar reactions to changing seasons, providing simple language to use vocabulary for clothing, seasons, and actions. 

Each of book in this series incorporates a single bilingual glossary page at the back, with a dozen or so of the key-concept words in English, followed by a pronunciation key, then the correct Spanish spelling. This is invaluable for English-dominant adults who are sharing the books with little hands and minds. It is also helpful for slightly older kids who can read English but are enjoying the titles for their accessible approach to building Spanish vocabulary and language patterns. (Or te reverse!)

Finally, THINGS I DO: Las Cosas Que Hago, is a focused concept presentation featuring verbs. Following a double spread introductory text, using light rhyme and the question, WHAT DO YOU DO? (translated text on facing page), each spread is short, simple and direct.

What follows is a series of three categories with lift-flap and minimal text that easily present familiar activities. First, several words of action are seen/used, spread by spread, followed by words showing emotions, then sensory words. In this case, each flap echoes the English-text cover of the flap with the Spanish text under the flap, along with the pronunciation guide. 

These are board books, yes, and research indicates that toddlers can gain substantial brain power by learning additional languages in ways that are fun, friendly, and natural: like reading books together, singing songs, connecting with characters, etc. That's a solid match for these titles and others in this series. The physical books are solidly constructed and should stand up well to very young hands and explorations. These books are ALSO an ideal way to entice slightly older audiences to bilingualism- in both directions. The reoccurrence of characters, core vocabulary, and patterns of repetition and simple language structures allow for potential self-instruction and development of conversational language, to some extent. 

These are welcome additions to the other titles you can find on the  CANTICOS website, including award-winning videos in which these and other characters voice their vocabulary and come to life on the screen.

A note of thanks to loyal readers who are still with me after my unexplained pauses in reviews or interviews recently. Life has been throwing me curve balls, so I was not able to post a warning about delays between posts. I'm determined to get back to a more regular schedule soon and hope you'll continue to read, and comment when you feel so inclined!

I hope you enjoyed the review of FRANZ'S PHANTASMAGORICAL MACHINE by Beth Anderson and Caroline Hamel, HERE. As promised in that review, Beth Anderson agreed to an interview and that will appear here within  a few days. DO NOT MISS it!

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