Thursday, June 28, 2012


Stevens, Jan Romero. Carlos and the Carnival / Carlos y la feria. Flagstaff: Rising Moon, 1999. ISBN # 0-87358-733-2.

In Española, New Mexico, a young girl, Gloria, hits the piñata at her friend Carlos's birthday party. Gloria and Carlos are next door neighbors and decide to go to the fair the day following Carlo’s birthday. Carlos is excited to take $10 that he got for his birthday to the fair, but his father warns him that money disappears quickly when its spender makes unwise decisions. Carlos reminds his father that he is older now and knows how to spend his money. At the fair, Carlos and Gloria eat a lot of food (including sopapillas, a recipe for which appears at the end of the story). They also go on rides and play games. Carlos ends up spending all of his money trying to pop balloons with darts at a booth. In the end, all he wins is a black plastic spider. Before leaving the fair, Carlos visits his rabbit and notices a blue ribbon marked “Best of Show.” Carlos wins $5 for his show rabbit. As Carlos and Gloria leave the fair, another man from a game booth calls Carlos. Carlos makes the decision to not risk the money he has just earned and walks away.

This book is written in Spanish and English, written in English first and then translated to Spanish. The writing in Spanish does not seem to follow the proper structure of the Spanish language; because of this, it is not a very accurate translation. Although the syntax for the Spanish translation is not correct, the translation does match the original tone, story, and culture of the book. In addition, the English writing includes some sayings and expressions in Spanish which helps the tone, story, and culture of the book remain the same in both languages.

The text for the English and Spanish is different. The English is in bold font, while the Spanish is in a thinner, italicized font. Both are clear, visible and legible. The text does include some Spanish slang that might confuse Spanish language learners. The book does not include a glossary for this language, but it can can still be understood because the slang is used within the context of the plot.

The illustrations in the book can help with comprehension and support linguistic and skill transfer. This book would be appropriate for third through fifth grade.

Reviewed by Stephanie Calixto

This review is part of the Special Section: Books in Spanish, featuring a collaboration with Policy and Language Studies students at San Diego State University. Read more about it here.

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