As the world “shrinks” we are more and more likely to hear new languages spoken around us. Not just in the big cities, but in smaller communities, too. In this multilingual world, we need books that speak different languages.
Young readers love to hear stories, whether it is in their own language or a new one. Having multiple language editions in the classroom – or at home – can help with learning to read or learning a new language.
Over the years we’ve had the opportunity to read lots of books by Sylvan Dell Publishing. Some, like Burro’s Tortillas by Terri Fields, embeds Spanish in the story. There are many others that have English and Spanish editions. And since kids love animal stories, I pulled some of our favorites from the Reading Tub archives!
In this ABC book each letter has a 4-line poem about an animal that stars with the letter (e.g., alligator, beaver, cheetah, etc.). The poem offers facts about the animal to help with learning. This picture book offers factual information about nature as it teaches kids their ABCs.
- Wonderful illustrations and scientific accuracy offer layered learning for visual learners and those learning to read.
- Its strength is not the ABCs but the science. It is an excellent animal science book.
- A good choice for mixed age readers. From our reviewer: “My 2-year-old liked the animals. The 4-year-old was better able to appreciate the added information about each animal, including the illustrated details on each animal’s environment. They BOTH wanted to read it again. They liked pointing out details about the animals and made connections to ‘like’ animals.”
- The illustrations were fantastic and well thought out. For example, in most books, hippos are portrayed in a zoo on land, or just a nose above water, but this hippo was shown swimming from under water – his true natural state! There is a rich amount of information from text and illustrations about each animal.
- This is very geared to classroom learning, but it can be used at home for fun, too. Additional resources for animal flashcards are provided in the back of the book and online. There are themes of learning the alphabet, science, animals, and habitat.
This is a picture book with gorgeous illustrations of a variety of animals sleeping in their natural habitats. You’ll learn about animals that sleep standing up, upside down, underwater, and more. This rhyming picture book shows all types of animals and where they sleep.
- Gorgeous pictures and wonderful depictions of animals make this a sweet book to read just before bed.
- In addition to being a bedtime story, kids learn about habitat and behavioral differences among animals.
- From our reviewer: “My son (3) was stimulated by identifying familiar animals and new animals alike. He would often add additional details about the scene or environment.”
- There is a fill-in-the-blank section at the end that provides both a review of the animals and supplemental biology facts. These are geared toward older kids, maybe 4 to 6.
- There weren’t enough words. I had to explain or discuss the pictures to fill out the story.
Henry is a young heron. He’s also very fidgety, always stepping on his brother’s and sister’s head in the nest. For months now, his mother has brought food to the nest to feed him. Now, he must go out on his own. Every time he tries to grab something to eat from the water, his meal escapes. The harder he tries, the hungrier he gets. When Henry runs into The Great Blue Heron, he learns a valuable lesson. This picture book wraps life lessons around factual information about Great Blue Herons.
- Children will see themselves in Henry and enjoy this story of discovery and growth.
- Every parent and child can relate to Henry’s predicament: sometimes the harder we try, the less likely it seems that we’ll reach our goal.
- The illustrations are beautiful and add a lot of context to the story.
- The facts about Great Blue Herons are more subtle than other Sylvan Dell books, but the material at the back makes up for that.
- Some of the themes discussed in the extra material are not raised in the story (e.g., wetlands conservation). The publisher has done an exceptional job linking them to the book and adding value for readers.
The zoo and all the animals prepare for a big day of visitors. Using the familiar Twas the Night Before Christmas rhyme, we meet the animals in the zoo.
- This is colorful and fun, and the science/learning material at the end is great.
- Kids will love that all the animals are smiling and nice, not scary looking.
- There is lots to explore with this book, from animal identification to animal facts. It also encourages letter recognition and sound, such as “what letter does turtle start with?” It wouldn’t take much to draw out themes of manners, either (llamas and spitting, giraffes and burping, etc.).
- The end of the story was a little anti-climatic, partially because they were trying to fit the pattern of Twas the Night Before Christmas by Clement Moore.
These are books that have a long shelf life. Pre-readers and developing readers will love the pages and the story; as they get older there is lots more they can enjoy and learn. For parents whose native language is Spanish it is an opportunity to share time reading with their child!