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A new book from Sandra Boynton

In the post this morning I received an exciting package – a new book that I wasn’t expecting until mid September! I love Sandra Boynton books – Moo Baa La la la was one of my sons’ favourite books as toddlers and Azul el sombrero, Verde el sombrero was a massive hit when I recorded it for KS1 in lockdown (I received several reports and even videos of children exclaiming ¡Ay caramba!) so when I saw that she’d published a new book, I preordered it!

The book is all about emotions. Here’s the opening page that sets up the whole book:

Each page then features an animal and an emotion. Here are the first two pages:

All the emotions go with estar and include enérgico, gruñón and contenta. As you can see from the sample pages and the examples I’ve given, the adjectives are presented in masculine – enojado, enérgico – and feminine – contenta – forms as well as those that are unchangeable – triste, feliz.

I love the illustrations which make the book. All the animals have their own characters and also demonstrate their emotion brilliantly. I also like that there is some more unusual vocabulary like complacido (contented/pleased with yourself) and confundida (confused) which opens up discussion of confounded being another (stronger) way of saying confused.

The final message of the book is that whilst the hope is that everyone is happy, it’s OK if you’re not, you’re amongst friends and that emotions change day to day.

It’s a lovely stand alone book but would also be good to introduce and/or review :-

  • animal vocabulary
  • estar + adjectives
  • use of muy (and potentially bastante) to qualify the extent of the feeling
  • masculine and feminine nouns (cerdo and hipopótamo are masculine nouns but are presented in feminine form as the animal is female)
  • the diminutive -ito/a
Una rana contenta

Having read the book, I’d try some of the following:

  • Asking the question ¿Cómo estás? and looking for a reply starting Estoy... (I am….)
  • Ask the question ¿Cómo está (animal)? to use the 3rd person with replies (animal) está (emotion) which requires learners to swap the indefinite artilce in the text for the definite article in their reply e.g. ¿Cómo está la rana? La rana está contenta
  • Make new sentences about animals and emotions based on pictures (see below for some possible ones!)
  • Make similes using the structure [adjective] como [animal] e.g. enfadado como un león; hambrienta como una cabra; listo como un búho

I thoroughly recommend the book – and all of Sandra Boynton’s books as they’re great fun but also great to spark ideas and activities.

What do you think?

This is the second in a series of three posts about books by Julia Donaldson that I have recently purchased in Spanish.

ISBN 978-84-261-4373-0
Available from Little Linguist

Las tres cartas del Oso is a very simple board book with flaps. It has two short sentences per page and colourful illustrations by Axel Scheffler. Oso writes three letters and sets out to deliver them. We follow him, counting the letters as we go and trying to guess to whom they are addressed by the home in which they live. Are we correct? Opening the flaps gives us the answer! But why has Oso written to Ardilla, Rana and Topo? All will be revealed as the book concludes with cake!

I bought this book to read to FKS/KS1 as it is very simple and also short. It reinforces counting to 3 and also could be used to introduce the names of some animals. I’d introduce the animal words before the story, with images to support, and then display them so that children can choose from the ‘gallery’ which animal they think the letter should go to. We could act out delivering the letters too, and reading them. And, as the purpose of the letters is revealed to be Oso’s birthday, it would be a good opportunity to talk Spanish birthday songs and traditions.

Here’s a Spanish birthday song – with cake ballet and dancing stars!

Feliz, feliz en tu dia 
Amiguito que Dios te bendiga 
Que reine la paz en tu dia 
Y que cumplas muchos más 
If you want Happy birthday to you in Spanish, here is it with lyrics on screen!

This video is nearly 10 years old but still helpful in showing a birthday celebration in Spain – and allows a comparison. https://www.bbc.com/bitesize/clips/zmvtsbk

A couple of traditions that I like that are quirky – instead of being given ‘the bumps’ and being thrown in the air, children in Spain have their ear ‘pulled’ the number of times that corresponds to their birthday. And in Mexico, I’ve discovered that they have the tradition below:

And speaking of Mexico – I learned Las Mañanitas from my Mexican friends on my birthday. A lovely song about the beauty of the morning! You can find the lyrics here .

Tres cartas del Oso is one of a series of books set in El Bosque de la Bellota (Acorn Woods) that includes El Zorro se viste, ¡Quiero dormir la siesta! and Juguemos al escondite.

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