José and El Perro

Penguin Workshop. (José and El Perro). Apr. 2023. 48p. Tr $9.99. ISBN 9780593521175; pap. $5.99. ISBN 9780593521168.
Gr 2-4–José is eager to have his first dog. At the shelter, there are many types of dogs, but one of them, a white dog with brown spots, is the right size for the family and gives José what resembles a big smile. José calls him “Feliz.” The bilingual (English-Spanish) family is delighted with the new family member, but when José tries some commands, Feliz does not follow through. Using some ingenuity, José finds a solution to this predicament. This charming easy chapter book for primary grade children who can read independently is set in a comfortably sized black-and-white font. The four chapters, mainly in English, are interspersed with Spanish words and phrases that are not highlighted, but integrated into the narrative. However, the literal translations do not always follow clear Spanish syntax. Pastel digital illustrations provide a soothing atmosphere with shades of blue and purple, while using strong yellow pictorial elements as a unifying iconographic factor throughout. Moreover, the art sets the story’s mood and helps readers understand the familiar plot. This book is perfect for a read-aloud at home with second grade English speakers who want to learn some Spanish vocabulary words. Back matter includes a list of words and Spanish phrases.
VERDICT An easy-to-read book for dog lovers who enjoy independent reading.

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