Friday, June 8, 2012


Balzola, Asun. Guillermo, Ratón De Biblioteca. City: Valladolid, España. Publisher, Year: Macrolibros, SA; 1982. ISBN 84-355-0647-9.

No grade level provided by the Publisher. I would use it for kindergarten and 1st grade in Spanish Language Arts and/or Social Sciences.

Another review (in Spanish):

Guillermo, Ratón de Biblioteca is a picture book for beginning readers (up to 1st grade). It teaches building courage, the love of books, determination, individual responsibility, leadership, and the responsibility that comes with acquiring knowledge. Its plot is a simple linear progression of events including a description of the protagonist: Guillermo. He is a mouse who loves reading and cheeses. He lives in a library where he enjoys the safety of many little spaces and hides between the books. Over time, Guillermo has become an expert in many subjects, especially on cheese! His life takes a turn when he receives an invitation to a party to be the speaker and expert in cheeses. He has one problem: the party is in the garden. To get there Guillermo has to face a life-threatening obstacle, which makes him face a life-changing decision. Within the plot appear other characters: a mail-carrying butterfly and two cats that Guillermo must evade if he is to reach his destiny.

The book is written in a clear Spanish prose that uses metaphors, vivid descriptions, and educational language that is easy to comprehend by beginning readers. It includes Literary Bilingualism in the protagonist's name: though he is named Guillermo, everyone calls him Shakespeare because of his dedication to reading. This concept also is distinctive as the book is written in Spanish but brings in the notion of English literature. Also, the author uses the expression "hop!" to indicate either the sound made by the landing when Guillermo jumps or to bring to the reader’s memory the idea of a jump using English language.

The illustrations are delicate aquarelle drawings done in earth tones. They provide a tranquil mood that permeates through the end. In fact, the extent of Guillermo’s danger is limited to his following the butterfly’s idea of an escape plan. I think that students would enjoy the story more if Guillermo were in some more tangible danger. However, I recommend this book for its clear content and accessible academic language.

Reviewed by Alejanfrina Franklin

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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