Bilingual Book a Great Learning Tool

February 8, 2008
A new bilingual children’s book recently hit the shelves in Costa Rican bookstores: “El Coyote y la Luciérnaga,” or “The Coyote and the Firefly,” written by Mexican-born author and journalist Yazmín Ross.
Aimed at children 3 and up, the tale recounts the story of a coyote called Mask and is based on the song “El Vals del Coyote” (“The Coyote Waltz”) by Guanacaste composer Max Goldenberg. Included with the book is a CD with recordings of the track in Spanish, English and a karaoke version for singing along, arranged by Fidel Gamboa from the popular Tico group Malpaís. Fellow band members Jaime Gamboa and Iván Rodríguez also collaborated in the production of the disc.
Publisher Pachanga Kids said in a statement that the aim of the book is “to amuse and to help the development of children in Costa Rica and to create a cultural bridge” with children from other regions.
To this end, the text is fully bilingual, having been translated by New York-born poet and The Tico Times’ “Restaurant Guide to Costa Rica” author Eliot Greenspan. Together with Costa Rican artist Ruth Angulo’s attractive illustrations and the accompanying CD, the book makes an interactive learning tool for kids.With its setting in the tropical dry forest of the northwestern province of Guanacaste, the book helps create awareness about the environment and the different habitats of Costa Rica.
“I had had the idea of doing something for children for a little while,” said Ross, who has lived in Costa Rica for 17 years.
“Children in Costa Rica who are learning English and looking for things to read cannot find stories about the things that surround them.”
“Many people who come to Costa Rica want to take something from here home for children, and there is nothing for them,” she added.
Translator Greenspan, who is also a musician and performed the English version of “The Coyote Waltz” for the accompanying CD, said of the project, “It was a little bit more challenging since the form it came out of was a children’s song.”
“It was a nice chance to participate on a lot of different levels,” he added.
The book is the second from publisher Pachanga Kids, and follows the success of “El Mar Azucarado,” or “Sea Sweet Sea,” which was published in January 2006 and is now in its third edition (TT, Feb. 24, 2006). Forthcoming titles include “Un Paparazzi en el Bosque Lluvioso,” or “The Monkey Paparazzi in the Rain Forest,” and “Buscando al Sapito Dorado,” or “In Search of the Golden Toad.”
Distributed by Librería Internacional, “The Coyote and the Firefly” is priced at ¢6,900 (about $14) and is available at bookstores and supermarkets around the country.
For more information, call Pachanga Kids at 280-2521 or 225-8730. A Web site, www.pachangakids.com, is under construction and should be available shortly.
 
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