'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
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Sunday 19 March 2017

Review: First Words: Spanish

One book, two languages, one hundred words. That's what you get with First Words: Spanish. It's a simple and accessible tool for introducing Spanish language to young children.

Each double page spread has one word written in English, along with its Spanish equivalent and pronunciation, to make it easy to understand and speak. Like in this example:


Each word has a corresponding picture on a brightly coloured background which contrasts with the white space surrounding the words in bold type which are on the opposite page.

The one hundred words featured in First Words: Spanish should be easily recognised by children just by the pictures, even if they can't read the words. There are everyday items like pieces of clothing, food, animals, types of transport, shops, places and items from around the house, greetings, and more.

I showed First Words: Spanish to a native Spanish speaker and teacher who mentioned that its emphasis generally appears to be on Spanish as spoken in Spain, rather than that spoken elsewhere. An example of this would be Spain's word for car being 'coche', whereas other Spanish speakers would tend to use 'carro' or 'auto'. On the other hand, the pronunciation of some words is more in line with Spanish spoken elsewhere.

So the expert opinion is that although there is some mixing of dialects, this would not be an issue for a children's book like First Words: Spanish which is a good introduction to the idea of languages in general and Spanish language in particular.

I imagine this would be able to be used as a stand-alone book, but also in conjunction with reading bilingual stories, or by anyone wanting to learn a new language, whatever their age. It also has a multimedia experience, with a complementary website that offers an audio pronunciation guide.

Find a copy of this libro and you'll be able to start incorporating Spanish into your day!

Title: First Words: Spanish
Author: Lonely Planet Kids
Illustrator: Andy Mansfield, Sebastien Iwohn 
Publisher: Lonely Planet Global Ltd, $19.99
Publication Date: March 2017
Format: Paperback (Flexibound)
ISBN: 9781786573162
For ages: 5-8 years
Type: Non-fiction