Juana & Lucas, by Juana Medina
From Juana & Lucas:
Back inside, in Mr. Tompkins's clase, it feels like a sauna, and after that intense fútbol game, this classroom is seriously stinky. Even stinkier than after dance class, and that's a lot of stinky!
We might have fallen asleep at our desks in the stuffy room if Mr. Tompkins hadn't anunciado, "Ladies and gentlemen! Are you ready for a ton of fun?"
When a grown-up says something is going to be a ton of fun, it means there will be NO FUN AT ALL. Not even a single bit of fun. Nada de fun.
I loved this book. Even just typing out that excerpt made me grin.
Juana's voice is warm and comfortable; the illustrations are hilarious and full of personality and verve. It's a celebration of family and home and community and friends and learning and it's funny, funny, FUNNY. I still can't look at the picture of Juana on page 30 without laughing, it's so wonderfully dramatic. (It's not just the arm across her forehead—a move that I am WELL-VERSED in making—but also the finger-splay she's got going on her other side. So perfect.)
Her struggles—and disinterest—in learning English will be entertaining and affirming for early readers, regardless of whether they're bilingual or monolingual. For me—a person who is always vaguely working at learning another language, but who is terrible at A) practicing and B) rolling with the inherent illogic/rule exceptions—I especially love how she is just out-and-out insulted by English's ridiculosity:
In the scorching-hot classroom, Mr. Tompkins explains things about the English that make very little sense to me. Why are read and read written the same way but sound different? How can I know when people are talking about eyes or ice when they sound about the same? And what about left hand and left the room? So many words, so little sense.
Nutshell: IT'S GREAT; I WOULD LIKE MORE, PLEASE AND THANK YOU.