Wednesday, November 5, 2008

"Off We Go To Mexico!: An Adventure in the Sun"

Off We Go To Mexico!: An Adventure in the Sun
Written by: Laurie Krebs
Illustrated by: Christopher Corr
Published by: Barefoot Books in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 2006
ISBN: 1-905236-40-9
Genre(s): Picture Book (Multicultural Work)
Reading Level: Grade 2
Activity Level: Grades 1 & 4

Summary: This book is actually a song with lots of Spanish vocabulary words for students to practice in it. This song chronicles a family’s vacation in Mexico and their dealing with the culture and traditions of the Hispanic people. It talks about the food, the festivals and the history of Mexico and at the end of the book it talks about facts about Mexico, celebratory times in the country, and gives readers a brief history of the country.

Response: I like that this book could be used for both younger and older readers because younger students would appreciate the song and older students to greatly benefit from the vocabulary.

The illustrations in this book however, are not the best I have seen. Children would probably appreciate them, but they are very cartoon-like and bright. The depictions of scenery are unrealistic in that there are hot pink; plants, and teal, lime green, and black cacti. Also, the animals in the zoo are also very unrealistic. They’re very jumbled together and fenced in in small enclosures.

Teaching Connections: A first grade teacher could read this book to her classroom and as she was reading the children could act out the action on each page such as swimming, eating at a festival, climbing the pyramids, shopping at local markets and dancing to a mariachi band.

A fourth grade teacher could use this book with her class by reading it and having three weeks of Spanish vocabulary words for her students to be tested on. The first list would come from the first half of the book, the second from the second half of the book and the third from the Spanish phrases located in the back of the book.

What Students Learn: From this book and these activities students learn about Hispanic traditions and gain vocabulary knowledge.

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