Conejito: a folktale from Panama by Margaret Read MacDonald, illustrated by Geraldo Valerio.

This is one of the CCBC Choices of the year, and everyone knows that you can’t go wrong with them!

Conejito’s school is on vacation so his mother sends him up the mountain to visit his aunt, Tia Monica who will feed him good things until he is fat! Fat! Fat!  On his way to his aunt’s he bumps into all sorts of animals who want to eat him.  But he tells them that he will be much fatter when he returns and that they should catch him then.  On the mountain with his aunt, he becomes not only fatter but also stronger, which serves him well on his way back down the mountain. 

The language of this book makes it a perfect read aloud.  There is a delightful mix of Spanish and English that creates a rhythm.  Even better, there are phrases that children will be able to repeat or help with throughout the story, learning Spanish as they contribute.  Add to the language, the bright whimsical illustrations and this is a great book to share with a group.  Even if you are shy about reading other languages aloud, try this!  It is worth the practice it takes. 

Recommended for preschoolers and Kindergarteners.  Best shared aloud with a group.