Lejos/Far; Cerca/Close

ea. vol: illus. by Bianca Gomez. 14p. (En Espanol). Candlewick. Sept. 2019. Board $7.99. ISBN 9780763690625; ISBN 9780763690632.
PreS-K–These bilingual board books build on their titular concepts. Lejos, whose cover depicts a young boy on a sailboat in the distant ocean, opens with: “El árbol de limones está lejos de mi casa.” Next, his house is far from the city, the city from the ocean, and so on, until the repetitive, rhythmic narrative reaches the sun, which shines down on the him back at home. The Spanish text is given preference, situated directly over its italicized English version, while both provide strong story arcs. Full-spread illustrations feature a cool color palette of blues and greens, accented with yellows and reds, while ample white skies provide a strong sense of visual balance. Straight lines form familiar objects, softened by curving roads, winding hills, and rounded faces, all lending a soft feel to this gentle book. Cerca is similarly illustrated, with a young girl protagonist whose round face and eyes are featured up close on the cover. She starts by saying, “Mi cuarto está cerca de la cocina,” followed by the kitchen is close to the door, the door to daisies, daisies to an apple tree … until her friend is close.
VERDICT These two titles are requisite purchases given their pleasing, predictable narratives and delightful illustrations.

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