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Cuckoo: A Mexican Folktale/Cucu:Un Cuento Folklorico Mexicano (English/Spanish)
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As all the birds agree at the end of this pretty bilingual picture book, "You can't tell much about a bird by looking at its feathers." ("No se puede juzgar a urn pájaro por su plumaje.")
The bird in question is a cuckoo bird with a golden voice. She may start out behaving pretty badly, leaving others to do her share of the work, but she sure pulls through in a pinch. After all, what's a full-throated bird to do when the fields are burning? Rescue the seeds, of course, so there will be food next year. Though the other birds assume she's far too frivolous to be any use, that's just what Cuckoo does.
In this bilingual retelling of an old Mexican tale, Cuckoo [Cucu] not only saves the seeds, but also loses her voice in all the smoke and soot. When it finally returns, her lovely singing voice has become a raspy bark, able only to "cuckoo," not to sing. Beautifully illustrated with bright backgrounds and contrasting cutouts and collages, the book tells its story in both English and Spanish on each page. No doubt we'll be seeing more of such volumes in the future, as publishers work to meet the demand for Spanish-language works. This particular story is a great introduction to the mysteries of multiple languages; the colorful energy of the book's art should keep kids wandering through its pages for a good long time. 40pp, 12.3 x 10.4, Ages 4-9.