This week Bibs and I have been doing a lot of reading. She is very lucky to have so many fantastic story books that she has been given by family and friends. For our Spanish books we go to the excellent local childrens’ library. Where they are brilliantly relaxed about overdueness and, therefore, great pals of mine.
I am finding that reading to Bibsey in Spanish is actually the best way for both of us to introduce the language into the house. She loves the stories and it doesn’t seem to phase her that they are in Spanish. And for me the the benefits are huge. I get to practice reading out loud and pick up some brilliant vocabulary. The repetition, as we read the same stories over and over, is great for cementing new words and phrases in my mind, and I know that what I am reading to her is correct Spanish. Pronunciation is perhaps the only issue but, with practice, this gets easier. Wins all around then?
What I particularly love is that we are learning words together. And somehow for me the words in Spanish are so much more lyrical. I am really enjoying it.
So, I thought that for this week’s challenge I would look to fairy tales los cuentos de hadas for my inspiration.
Era una noche fría de invierno… It was a cold winter’s night. How many stories start like this? Such fabulous stuff. Y todos dormían placidamente, ajenos a la tormenta que se habia desatado en el exterior. Everyone was sleeping peacefully, oblivious of the storm that had unleashed itself outside… and off we go into a rip-roaring tale of La Familia Oso y la Gran Tortmenta in which all the baby bears end up in mummy and daddy’s bed during a terrible storm that rocks the house and casts terrible shadows on the wall. The punchline is that Daddy Bear turns out to be more afraid than anyone of the ‘monsters’ that might come calling on a stormy night and ends up hiding under the bed.
Another favourite is El Conejito Valiente. This is a story of a Brave Little Rabbit who is fed up with sleeping in an overcrowded burrow ya está harto de dormir en una madriguera tan pequeña. He wanders out into the night to get away from his many brothers and sisters only to find himself alone and afraid in an enormous ice cave. With the help of a friendly albatros he returns to the safety of the burrow and the warmth of his siblings. And much like Dorothy he realises that there is no place like home.
And, saving the best ’til last we have Fani, the mouse who wants to become a magic fairy un ratoncita que quiere convertirse en un hada con grandes poderes mágicos. Once I get past the name – sorry for being such an adolescent, but I struggle initially to take anyone seriously, fairy or otherwise, with a name like Fani – I have to admit that Fani is truly the favourite in our house.
The arrival of la ratoncita in our lives marked the beginning of a fairy fad that has sparked a crime spree, the like of which I doubt they have seen before in our tucked-away part of the world. Misdemeanors include the pilfering of a fairy wand from the childminder’s house, the borrowing, with intent not to return, of a set of pink glittery fairy wings from a little friend, and the shaking down of the local Chino Bazaar for a fairy crown (this last is pure bravado – we went in and paid like normal people, not like Bonnie and Clyde).
I should mention the moral of Fani’s story is that magic is not something that one just acquires with a fairy costume un disfraz de hada, it is something that we all carry inside us. Broken hearts and pirate ships can be mended with love and a glue stick pegamento and this is the only type of magic that counts.
This week Bibsey’s Challenge was brought to you by the following incredibly useful, and now everyday, to us here at Bibsey Towers, words (and phrases):
desatar: to unleash, untie, let loose, erupt.
estar harto de: to be fed up of
convertierse: to become
disfraz de hada/bruja/gorila: fancy dress costume
Bums that’s only six. Here’s another one: patatín patatán that’s the sound of fairy magic that is.
And now it’s your turn. I’d love you to join in if you fancy. Here’s more info. I would welcome all comments and corrections, suggestions and additions. Can you recommend any good Spanish reading for a two year old just embarking on bilingualism? Are there any great classics out there that have been translated that we should read? How are you tackling bilingualism with your children? I would love to hear from you.