Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Book Review: Upa! Upa! Hip, Hop

When I was pregnant, I asked for lots of baby books. I registered on Amazon and I asked for almost every Portuguese baby book available - which was not many. Almost all of them were bilingual, English-Portuguese.

There is some debate among parents raising bilingual children about whether bilingual books are beneficial or not. Having the English right next to the Portuguese, in my opinion, means that when C is actually learning to read, she could be lazy and just read the English. When she does get older, I will have to try harder to find children's books in only Portuguese, so that she will have to read the Portuguese, not just read the English and look at the Portuguese, with its funny accents and strange spellings.

For now though, I have an assortment of board books that I'd like to review. Some of them are nice, some of them are really bad.

Upa! Upa! is somewhere in between. I love the colors - black and white and primary colors. They are perfect for babies and you can see by the worn corners that C has already enjoyed the book (both looking at it and trying to eat it!)

But the Portuguese text is kind of strange. For one, all the animals are in the diminutive: cãozinho, peixinho, coelhinho. While cute, it is kind of strange when you're trying to teach the names of animals. And why use the word cãozinho instead of cachorro?

Also, the pattern is off. For some animals we learn the sound they make. But some animals, like rabbits and fish, don't really make sounds. So dogs go woof, but rabbits go hip hop. And fish go splish splash in both English and Portuguese? Really? There isn't a way to say splish splash in Portuguese? 

O peixe não espirra agua?

But again, C really loves the book, mostly beacause the colors are engaging. It's a very simple, cute book. But if I could re-write the text, I would. I might pull out my label maker and do just that.

Grade: B-

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