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Based on a Cuban folk tale, The Barking Mouse uses a cute story to serve up the importance of learning to speak different languages. In the story, a family of mice on a picnic runs into trouble when brother and sister mouse taunt a cat, as Mama Mouse and Papa Mouse smooch. When the cat chases them, Mamá Mouse saves the day by barking, which scares the cat and makes him run away. The bright, cartoon illustrations make the story attractive to younger readers, but there’s a fair amount of text on each page, which means that it’s a definite read-aloud book. The story is a little bit silly and might get tired kind of quickly, but there’s a lot of really nice, realistic family joking that’s fun to read.
The text itself is interspersed with English and Spanish, and there’s a glossary at the front of the book to show readers words they might be unfamiliar with. There’s also a note from the author, geared towards parents, explaining his own experiences with bilingualism as well as racial and language- based bullying. This note alone makes the book, and really hammers the moral of the story home.
Reviewer: Alejandra Oliva
Recommendation: Mildly Recommend for ages 4-7