Monday, March 18, 2013


Jarkins, Sheila. The Adventures of Marco Flamingo in the Cave/ Las aventuras de Marco Flamenco en la cueva. McHenry: Raven Tree Press, 2012. ISBN 978-1-936402-00-7. $16.95.

*This book is the fourth one in the series. The three books prior to this one are: Marco Flamingo, Marco Flamingo under the Sea, and Marco Flamingo in the Jungle.

This story is about a flamingo named Marco who is looking for an adventure with his three other flamingo friends, Shelly, Coral, and Webb. They travel through grasslands, along rivers, and into the desert. When their jeep breaks down in the desert, Marco leads his friends to an oasis. There, Marco spots a cave and is eager to discover what he will find inside. His friends are timid and stay outside while Marco explores the cave. Leopard, Snake, Vulture, and Goat watch as Marco enters the cave and decide to join him. They become friends and Leopard tells Marco they will go and bring Shelly, Coral, and Webb into the cave. After various planned attempts Leopard, Snake, Vulture, and Goat get Shelly, Coral, and Webb to enter the cave. They explore the cave as Marco did and ultimately find Marco. Marco surprises his flamingo friends by introducing them to his new friends Leopard, Snake, Vulture, and Goat. They all become friends and dance as they exit the cave together.

Additional Information:
This story is a fictional picture book. Ideal for a bilingual classroom setting, the story is written in English and Spanish. The English text on top and the Spanish text on the bottom right below the English text, language texts are color-coded and easy to distinguish.

Originally written in English and translated into Spanish, some of the translations are not very accurate, and there is one spelling error. On page seven, the engine overheats and dies. Coral says “Oh no, we’re doomed.” The Spanish text reads "Oh, no, estamos perdidos." The word perdidos means lost, not doomed. A more accurate translation would be "Oh, no, estamos atorados." The word atorados means stuck. On page 10, in the Spanish word mirren as used in this story is misspelled. It should be miren with one r. On page 11 a flamingos says “I agree” and the Spanish translation given is "Tienes razón," which means “You are right” in English and not “I agree.” The correct translation would be "Estoy de acuerdo." On page 17, in the Spanish text, the usage of the word charca is questionable because it means puddle and in the English text this was originally written the cave pool, meaning a body of water bigger than a puddle. A more accurate translation of cave pool would be la laguna de la cueva. Finally, on page 19 Shelly says “Yikes!” but the Spanish text translates this to "Guacala!" which means “Gross!” in English, not yikes. A better translation would be "Ay!" Also, some sentences could have been rephrased better in Spanish. Aside from the errors mentioned, the translation matches the original English text.

This story is ideal for teaching dialogue and dialogue punctuation. The punctuation for dialogue in Spanish is written differently than the punctuation for dialogue in English. In Spanish, the guión (–) is the punctuation used in dialogue. In English, the quotation marks (“) are the punctuation used in dialogue. Each language uses the punctuation differently. Certain rules pertain to each one.

Other books in the series set Marco in different locales such as the sea and jungle. Teachers can use these texts to initiate conversations and access students’ prior knowledge when teaching about these habitats in particular. A sneak peek summary of the story on the inside flap of the cover. At the end of the book, the author includes a glossary of vocabulary used in the story. The vocabulary words are in Spanish and in English.

The colorful illustrations engage for young readers. If not used in the classroom to teach dialogue or habitat, this story can be used for enjoyment purposes. Children love reading about adventure.

Reviewed by Diana Derner

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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