My Dog Is Lost (Picture Books) (Hardcover), by Ezra Jack Keats and Pat Cherr. My dog is lost! or "Mi perro se ha perdido!" is about a boy named Juanito, who has just moved to New York City from Puerto Rico, and doesn't speak any English. His homesickness is compounded when he loses his dog Pepito. He tries to find him, but can't communicate with others to help him. He sees a shop window with "Aqui se habla espanol" written on it. The inhabitants help him to make a sign (as pictured on the cover), and he walks around showing people. Using gestures and a few words of Spanish, he answers questions about his dog, and a diverse group of strangers (African American, Chinese, white) begin to help him search. In the end, a policeman on a horse helps him recover his beloved perrito, and of course all are happy. A brief dictionary in the back reinforces the Spanish words learned throughout the short book. The illustrations very effectively tell the story in black and white sketches with bursts of an orangey red throughout.
"Juanito walked to Chinatown. He showed the paper to Lily and Kim Lee. Lily pointed to the crayons in her little brother's hand and asked, 'What color is your dog' Juanito tugged at his brightly colored shirt. / Rojo!"
Bookworm's interest at 20 months: At first, I tried reading the book as is, and he quickly tired of it and fussed as I wanted to finish reading it myself. Once I'd finished, I gave it another try without all of the text. I just pointed to the images and explained the gist of the story line, and the Spanish words. He loved it, and we've read it about 7 times since with no fussing. I'm sure he'll grow into the book in time, and I'm so pleased to have this one on our shelf.
More on Jack Ezra Keats, per Wikipedia. In part, "Keats is best known for introducing multiculturalism into mainstream American children's literature. He was one of the first children’s book authors in the English-speaking world to use an urban setting for his stories, and he developed the use of collage as a medium for illustration." We've been holding our review of Snowy Day until wintertime.
Do you have any favorite books that weave Spanish vocabulary into a story? We recently bought a bilingual version of a Richard Scarry book we love, but I'm interested in other picture books rather than word books.