Title: How are You? Cómo Estás?
Author: Angela Dominguez
Illustrator: Angela Dominguez
Publisher: Henry Holt and Company – Macmillan Publishing Group
ISBN: 978 125012 6863
Age Range: 2-4 Years Old
When two giraffe friends find a baby ostrich, they have some questions. Is baby ostrich hungry? Shy? Tired? Ostrich says no! So how does she feel?
Friendship awaits in this book about feelings, expressed both in English and in Spanish.
How Are You? Cómo Estás? | Snuggleosophy Review
The artwork of this book is top notch. It is attractive, expressive, simple, and colorful. The animals in the story express their emotions perfectly. It complements the writing and provides a perfect example of each emotion.
I don’t know as though there is much of a message in this book, which I think is fine. Not all children’s books need to have a deep message. I think that the purpose of this book, to teach children to express their emotions in English and in Spanish, is achieved.
I think that the only recommendation that I could make here is that the author could have included more emotions, and the ostrich could have been more vocal in its responses. After most of the questions that the giraffes ask, the response is a simple, “No.” I think that this is a missed opportunity to reinforce the vocabulary taught in each language. “No, no tengo hambre. No, I am not hungry,” for example.
Also, while the giraffes each seem to speak a different language (hence why there are two), the ostrich seems to be monolingual. While the ostrich does use a couple of words in Spanish, they are intermixed with English. I think that having a character that is truly bilingual would be a better choice in this instance.
Overall, the writing in this book is great. It is simple, grammatically correct, and it is easy to follow. It is also an easy book to read out loud whether you know Spanish or not, which is important, as not all parents who want to teach their child Spanish are bilingual themselves.
I also like that the Spanish is well written with the accents in the correct spots. You would be surprised how many native speakers tend to leave them out on a daily basis.
However, as I have described in my keys for a successful language learning foundation, it is important that language be consistent within itself. Speaking Spanglish is not beneficial for language learning. The giraffes separate their languages well. They ask their questions in English, and then in Spanish. But, when responding toward the end, the ostrich mixes its language. I feel as though this is unnecessary, as the ostrich could have simply been bilingual and repeated his responses for each giraffe. Children thrive on repetition, and I think doing that would help children retain the vocabulary better.
The last two pages also don’t have words. I feel this is, again, a missed opportunity to reinforce some of the vocabulary used throughout the book (though the pictures are adorable).
Would I Recommend this Book?
Yes, I really loved How Are You? Cómo Estás?
I think it is a perfect introduction to the emotions in English and Spanish for young children. I read this book to Amanda, and she absolutely loved it. Giraffes are one of her favorite animals.
It is also nice to have a book that we can read as a family. Most books that we have purchased are in either English or Spanish. The books that we have purchased that are bilingual are usually just a direct translation in both languages of each page. And, frankly some of the translations aren’t done well. It was lovely to read a book with Amanda that had an active interaction between the two languages.
If you are looking for a book to use to introduce your child to Spanish (or English), I think that this book is a perfect fit.
Also, I must mention, that after I read this book to my daughter, she started telling me “no” to everything I asked her. So, I will have to thank Angela for that sometime.
Let us know if you have read How Are You? Cómo Estás? and what you think about it in the comments below!
Disclaimer: I was provided a free copy of this book for the purpose of this review, but the thoughts and opinions above are 100% my own.
I also want to say that while the opinions are my own, the above article contains links from the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.