Bergers Book Reviews

Guess It If You Can!


Author: Celina Penovi
Illustrator: Dario Salvi
Publisher: AuthorHouse
Genre: Children / Bilingual
ISBN: 978-1-4490-2744-5
Pages: 24
Price: $15.99

Author’s website
Buy it at Amazon

Can you guess what classroom items are described in these poems? In both English and Spanish? Cute pictures give clues to these riddles, but you’ll have to read them closely to figure them out.

Guess It If You Can! challenges us with eight different items to discover. On one side the poem is in English, and on the other side in Spanish. Kids can work through the puzzle in the language they’re most familiar with, and then look at the other to learn something new. Although the poems don’t translate word for word, it’s fun to see how a phrase in English is spoken in Spanish.

Creating rhymes in two languages isn’t the easiest of feats, but Celina Penovi does a nice job in this book. Although at times the lines are a bit forced, the message comes through clearly, and kids will have fun trying to figure out what classroom items are suggested. This book is a great tool for kids and adults to learn some new words and phrases in a second language – either English or Spanish.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

September 7, 2010 Posted by | bilingual, children | Leave a comment

The Clumsy Stork


Author: Celina Penovi
Illustrator: Lucas Penovi Orjales
Publisher: AuthorHouse
Genre: Children / Bilingual
ISBN: 978-1-4490-2746-9
Pages: 32
Price: $17.50

Author’s website
Buy it at Amazon

The stork has stayed out too late partying, but duty calls and he must bring three babies to their new homes. So he gets ready to go out and makes his first two stops. But then he rationalizes he has only one more baby to drop off and he has all day to do it. When he naps longer than he wants to, he suddenly has to rush to deliver his last little bundle of joy.

The Clumsy Stork is written in rhyme, in both Spanish and English. My high school Spanish is rusty at best, so I am not able to comment on how well it’s written, but it’s clear from the English section that Spanish is the author’s first language. Some of the phrases are “backwards” from an English speaker’s perspective, such as “a trip really long.” And the wording is awkward, in trying to force rhymes where they may not be any.

The illustrations are amusing, and the premise of a stork nearly missing his delivery is humorous. Kids will probably laugh at his near-disaster, knowing it would have been prevented if he hadn’t dawdled. And if they read along with the language that’s foreign to them, they’ll get to learn something new.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

June 22, 2010 Posted by | bilingual, children, poetry | Leave a comment

Scrambled Breakfast


Author: Celina Penovi
Illustrator: Dario Salvi
Publisher: AuthorHouse
Genre: Children / Spanish bilingual
ISBN: 978-1-4490-2743-8
Pages: 20
Price: $14.99

Author’s website
Buy it at Amazon

The breakfast table is set and waiting. But what happens when the fork insults the napkin? In his haste to retaliate, the napkin misses hitting the fork, and this triggers a series of events that lead to quite a mess!

In Scrambled Breakfast, Celina Penovi tells this morning tale in rhyme in both Spanish and English. I can’t say if the Spanish version of the rhyme works well, since I have a very limited vocabulary in that language. The English version is amusing, although sometimes the rhyme is a little confusing. But the general premise of the story comes through clearly and is enjoyable to read.

Dario Salvi has done a wonderful job of illustrating this breakfast scene. These food items and silverware have expressive faces, and their actions come to life on the page in a fun way. Kids will enjoy the idea of these inanimate objects getting caught up in a morning squabble. And if they read along with the language that’s foreign to them, they’ll get to learn something new.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

June 13, 2010 Posted by | bilingual, children, humor, poetry | Leave a comment

Running With the Bats

bats
Author: Chris Holaves
Illustrator: John Goomas
Publisher: Astakos Publishing
Genre: Children / Bilingual
ISBN: 978-0-9792991-1-7
Pages: 64
Price: $15.95

Buy it at Amazon

A boy is invited to play baseball with his friends, but before long, night creeps in. Now he’s all alone, and suddenly flying creatures swoop down. They chase him around, following him home, as he runs in terror through the darkness.

This boy has never seen a bat, and as they dive for mosquitoes, he panics and tries to shoo them away as he madly dashes away. The illustrations by John Goomas in pencil drawings of flying bats, trees with no leaves, and silvery moons peeking through wisps of clouds, create a spooky scene reminiscent of Halloween.

Running With the Bats is a rhyming story in English, translated into Spanish for a completely bilingual experience. Although bats seldom act the way they did in this story, the “attacking bats” made for a more scary read that kids will most likely enjoy. The last few pages explain some bat facts so these fuzzy winged creatures won’t seem so threatening.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

November 17, 2009 Posted by | bilingual, children | Leave a comment