For the past year I have been ordering the World Language books at my library, which is great, because it gives me more control over what I can use for my Spanish story times. While I think books by American authors translated into Spanish are great, I believe it’s really important that bilingual/bicultural children are exposed to original stories by authors from their respective culture/language. Unfortunately a lot of this literature isn’t reviewed by American publications and the vendors my library goes through often don’t provide much information on these titles, so ordering these kinds of books can be a challenge and you risk acquiring a few duds along the way.
La Granja de los Siete Establos by Roberto Aliaga, illustrated by Cintia Martin (Macmillan Ibeira, 2011) is no dud. This humorous lift the flap story is about a farmer who owns a farm with seven stables filled with all sorts of animals:
En un establo vivía un caballo.
En otro, dos vacas.
En otro, tres cerdos.
En otro, cuatro ovejas.
En otro, cinco cabras.
En otro, seis conejos.
Y en el de más arriba,
siete gallinas que eran amigas.
One night the farmer hears a terrible howl, so he jumps out of bed and proceeds to go check on all of his animals. Children can help you count them to make sure that they’re all accounted for under each flap and they’ll laugh at the accompaniying rhymes:
Las ovejas dormían haciendo una torre ovina.
Una debajo, y las otras encima.
A los cerdos, enterrados en el barro,
solo se les veía el rabo.
Pero estaban los tres: Juan, Pedrito y Andrés.
When the farmer arrives at the last stable he discovers that the horse is missing and worries that a wolf has absconded with him. Then he hears the hair-raising howl again, closer than before.
La puerta se abrió. Pero no fue el lobo quien entró:
Era el caballo, que venía bostezando.
Relieved, the farmer hugs the horse and tells him he thought the wolf had carried him off, to which the horse responds:
-El lobo? Qué lobo? – preguntó el caballo.
El de los aullidos.
-No…si quien aullaba era yo…Cuando hay luna llena
me salgo un ratito afuera. Es que sé idiomas – dijo
el caballo, mullendo la almohada.
Shocked at this revelation, the farmer just stares at the horse and says, “You know how to speak wolf?!?” To which the horse answers, “Yes, and I’m perfecting my rooster. Any day now I’ll be waking you up from the rooftop.”
This charming story about a bilingual horse is both funny and relatable for bilingual children. The entire book is in Spanish and was available on Amazon as of this posting. It’s been very popular during my story times for both pre-k children and grades K-2.