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Spanish books for children : Interesting

By Jo Green - Tue 22th Mar 2011

I am very fortunate that my daughter loves to read all kinds of books, and has a reasonably good standard of reading for a child of her age (then again, I expect that most parents say that!).

So I thought it would be a good idea to speak with the parents of one of my daughter's friends to see if we could do a book exchange. The mum is Spanish and Dad is English, but the daughter's main language is Spanish and needed to learn English to a better standard.

Although I might not have said as much at the time, I had a hidden motive in wanting to use this as an opportunity to brush up on my Castilian at the same time. I was cheerfully optimistic that I would be able to keep up with my 3 year old daughter.

So I came home from school a couple of days later with a stack of books ready to read at bedtime.

Now I'm always happy to be corrected if my pronunciation isn't quite up to scratch, but to have a three old constantly stopping me at the end of every line on a page to question my standard of spoken Spanish, I do tend to get quite paranoid.

One other thing I noticed was that there was no 'infantilising' of any of the content or subject matter.

As her granddad is a farmer, my daughter loves all things to do with animals, and given that she had a pending school trip to farm in the coming week, her face lit up when she saw a Spanish book entitled ' The Farm and Its Produce ' *

* Yes, I' guessing that's what it said, and on reflection it could have been something totally different.

The book proudly announced on the front cover that it had a number of 'touch and feel' characters and a number of 'interactive windows' that would result in hours of fun as our child was taught all about the wonders of life on a farm.

Now, I don't have my head in the sand when it comes to these matters, and certainly don't want to mislead my daughter in any way or have her leading her life in a bubble and protected from the real world, but I'm not sure that she was quite ready for the book....

For one, at three years old, I would have preferred to see a picture of an egg that she had to match to the animal that produced it, rather than have her connect a Roast chicken steaming on a plate to the smiling Hen in the coup.

Secondly, I would have thought that a pail of milk, or maybe a slice of cheese would have been perfectly adequate to illustrate what products a cow contributed, rather than a leather jacket.

But when it came to the pig, as I should have expected, there was an array of offal, salchichas, Jamones, Embutidos ect... to be connected to the sty full of smiling rosy-faced pigs.

"...and what do we get from Pigs ?" I cheerfully asked in my faltering Castilian, only to be met by bewildered stare...

"No...?...Well we butcher them mercilessly and then press their insides into various sausage products !"

So we were watching her favourite 'Pepa Pig' cartoon the next morning and she was asking when Pepa was going to get turned into a Sausage. How do you explain that one to a three year old ?

.... and then they wonder why small children have nightmares.

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