We’ve had a few children’s books featuring French over the years, so of course we were delighted by Escargot by Daska Slater and illustrated by Sydney Hanson. It has a sprinkling of French phrases and a charming French feel.
Escargot is a treat because the main character, a snail named Escargot, speaks directly to the reader. He explains he has two goals: To be the reader’s favorite animal and to go visit the salad at the back of the book. Neither work out quite as he expects.
You can find out all about what happens in this reading by Sophia:
Escargot is absolutely adorable and the message of trying new things is a laudable one. Check out a copy today. C’est magnifique!
This Saturday, January 27, 2018, is Multicultural Children’s Book Day. Be sure to check out all the fabulous sponsors and activities surrounding the event in the links below the “I am a Multicultural Children’s Book Day Blogger” button.
The celebration is designed to highlight multicultural children’s books. Today we have a bilingual personalized book for children from TimTimTom Books. The title I received is an underwater adventure called Leah and the Dolphin, with “Leah” being any child’s name you choose. The story is by Saskia Reusens and illustrated by Katrien Van Schuylenbergh.
When families speak two languages or are trying to learn two languages, it can be hard to find appropriate picture books to read. These books fill that gap because they are available in any two of nine different languages: Dutch, English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish and Chinese (Simplified or Traditional). You can also personalize the gender, appearance/skin tone, and write your own dedication message. I chose English and Traditional Chinese for the book our family received.
The story is about the main character’s adventure underwater. When she goes to the big pool all by herself for the first time, the main character doesn’t know what to expect. What she finds in the water will delight imaginative youngsters.
The illustrations are bright, with lots of fun things to discover in each spread. The personalized main character is featured prominently, which will make the child feel like he or she is right in the middle of the action.
This video shows how the personalizing works:
There is a lot to like about these books. They are bound with a sturdy hardcover, so will likely last for years. We were pleased to see the stories are not merely translations, but are retold to sound authentic in both languages. They also begin with a letter to the child, engaging them from the start.
Because each book is personalized and must be printed on demand, the customer support is critical. Based on my experience, the process of picking out details I wanted for the book was easy and straightforward, and the customer service from TimTimTom books was outstanding.
If you are looking for a special bilingual book to share with a child, TimTimTom Books are the way to go. They would make excellent gifts for any special occasion.
Want to learn more about marine animals? Check out a related STEM post at Growing with Science.
Multicultural Children’s Book Day (1/27/18) is in its 5th year and was founded by Valarie Budayr from Jump Into A Book and Mia Wenjen from PragmaticMom. Our mission is to raise awareness of the ongoing need to include kids’ books that celebrate diversity in home and school bookshelves while also working diligently to get more of these types of books into the hands of young readers, parents and educators.
Current Sponsors: MCBD 2018 is honored to have some amazing Sponsors on board.
We’d like to also give a shout-out to MCBD’s impressive CoHost Team who not only hosts the book review link-up on celebration day, but who also works tirelessly to spread the word of this event. View our CoHosts HERE.
TWITTER PARTY Sponsored by Scholastic Book Clubs: MCBD’s super-popular (and crazy-fun) annual Twitter Party will be held 1/27/18 at 9:00pm.
Meet five children who speak different languages: English, French, Spanish, Japanese, and Mandarin. The text offers a greeting, a simple phrase, and “I love you” written in each language (accompanied with English translations). Press the buttons on the right side of the book to hear the children say their version of “I love you.”
Youngsters soak up languages, so it is important for them to be exposed early. Even if they don’t formally study the language, recognizing a few phrases will expand their vocabularies and grasp of grammar. Children also enjoy interactive books, which makes this a winning combination.
On a practical note, if you’ve had “speaking” books in the past, you know that the batteries can wear out quickly. If the battery is hidden within the book, there isn’t much you can do about it. The designers of this book took this into account. The battery pack is exposed in the back of the book, so you can change the battery. The designers also provided a tiny on-off switch on the battery pack, which you’ll need to make sure is “on” before you hand the book to a child.
Disclosure: This book was provided by the publisher for review purposes. I am an affiliate with Amazon so I can provide you with cover images and links to more information about books and products. As you probably are aware, if you click through the highlighted title link and purchase a product, I will receive a very small commission, at no extra cost to you. Any proceeds help defray the costs of hosting and maintaining this website.
The new picture book Fatima and the Clementine Thieves by Mireille Messier and illustrated by Gabrielle Grimard is fantastic. Not only is it a top notch example of a multicultural book, but it inspires any number of hands-on STEAM activities. How can one picture book do so much?
Summary: Living in Morocco, Fatima’s family has an orchard of clementine oranges. Right before harvest, someone or something destroys some of the crop and breaks the trees. When they discover the orange thieves are elephants, what can Fatima and her grandfather do to stop them?
With help from her friends the spiders, Fatima comes up with an unusual and humane solution to her family’s problem. Mireille Messier‘s fable has wonderful underlying messages about the importance of collaboration, thinking outside the box, nonviolent solutions to problems, and how little things can make a huge difference.
What I love about the book:
That it features clementine oranges, which are a familiar, popular snack for small children.
That the author is bilingual and the book is available in French.
Gabrielle Grimard‘s luscious illustrations capture the time and place beautifully. You can just smell the citrus on every page.
Like the orange, Fatima and the Clementine Thieves is a collections of sweet, complex-flavored messages wrapped up in a easy-to-handle package. Pick up a copy to savor with a young reader today. They will enjoy it.
Related STEAM Activities
It is easy to find great activities to accompany this book.
Spiders play a major role in the story. Try some of the spider-science themed hands on activities at Growing with Science blog, like the climbing spider and making a spider web.
Clementine Orange Fractions
Clementines (or mandarin) oranges
Knife (for adult use)
Introduce the idea of fractions. Have an adult cut an orange in half most of the way through. Then cut another in fours. Finally cut one in eighths.
Have the children peel back the outer layer and look at the sections inside. Have them count the sections in their fruit. Write down the counts. Do all the fruit have the same numbers of sections? What fraction of the whole is a section in their fruit? For example, if there are eight sections in the fruit above, each section is 1/8 of the whole (roughly).
Of course, they will want to eat the results.
In the story, Fatima offers clementine peel flowers to the spiders.
Slice the oranges in the same way as the previous activity. Let the children peel the fruit. The peels can be used as “flowers” (see photograph below). Create scenes with different-shaped peels, other fresh plant materials, and/or your choice of art materials. Photograph the results. (See a creative example here).
For more advanced lessons, show how a three dimensional round object can be flattened into two dimensions.
Note: The peels will curl drastically as they dry, so will need to be pressed if they are to be preserved.
Want to read more children’s books about spiders? See our list organized by genre and age at Science Books for Kids.
Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Publisher: Red Deer Press; 1 edition (June 30, 2017)
Disclaimer: Just so you know, the publisher supplied this title for review purposes. Also, I am an affiliate with Amazon. If you make a purchase after clicking on one of the title links, I will receive a small commission at no extra charge to you, the proceeds of which will help pay for maintaining this website.