CM . . . . Volume XX Number 28 . . . . March 21, 2014
Chico Canta is the littlest member of the Canta family of mice. Mischievous and curious, Chico is always getting himself into trouble, much to the chagrin of his parents and his 11 brothers and sisters. The Canta family live in an old theatre and delight in the operas the humans put on around them. But when the lives of the Canta family and their friends are threatened by the cat Little Gato-Gato, Chico Canta uses his language skills to save the day.
Bravo, Chico Canta! Bravo! celebrates multilingualism. Chico Canta's mother encourages all of her children to learn a number of different languages - she, herself, speaks English, Spanish, Italian, Cricket, Spider and Moth. This is a story that reflects the experiences of children across the world growing up speaking a number of different languages, and the authors create a little character with whom readers can relate. The story's pint-sized hero will also have strong appeal for small children who will revel in the ability of the littlest sibling to save the day.
The text uses the term "bilingual" even though Chico Canta and his family speak multiple languages. The authors note that the correct term, "multilingual", might be too "cumbersome" for small children, and they encourage parents, teachers and librarians to use whichever word works best for their audience.
Amelia Lau Carling's joyful, rustic illustrations fill every page with colour and life.
Jane Whittingham is an MLIS Candidate at the University of British Columbia iSchool and a Student Librarian at the Vancouver Public Library.
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