¡Saludos, todos! Our book for this week is a perfect addition to our November themes of food, abundance, and thanks. I will be reviewing Don’t Say a Word, Mamá/ No digas nada, mamá, by Joe Hayes and illustrated by Esau Andrade Valencia, an amusing tale of two loving sisters, an appreciative mother and a garden overflowing with tomatoes, corn and peppers. The story is written in both English and Spanish and is best for ages 4-8.
The story begins by introducing two sisters, Rosa and Blanca, who “loved each other very much” and were always eager to help the other with her chores. Their mother is immensely grateful for such wonderful daughters: “She would always say ‘My daughters are so good to each other! I must be the luckiest mother in this town. No. I’m the luckiest mother in this country. No. I think I’m the luckiest mother in the whole wide world!’” These character descriptions are heartwarming and remind readers of the gratitude and appreciation that a loving family deserves. This passage also begins to show the various techniques through which Hayes slows down his language in a way that is more accessible to younger readers. Mamá measures her gratitude for her daughters in intervals, a slow crescendo, claiming to be the luckiest mother in the town, then the country, and then the entire world. Continue reading