Bilingual Baby has had the ability to sound out letters and read words aloud in Spanish for at least a year. But she’d never held a book completely in her own lap and read it front to back on her own.
We found the book “Mimi Dice Que No” Yih-Fen Chou (Author), Chih-Yuan Chen (Illustrator) at the library, and it’s a perfect children’s book for pre-kinder and kinder kids, in my opinion. Mimi is probably 3 years old and wants to do everything herself. Sound familiar? The desire for independence will likely resonate fiercely with your little one.
Mimi is defiant and indignant when her mama tells her she’s going to get her dressed.
The next page is filled with the giant letters “NO, ¡me vestiré yo sola!” (No! I’ll get dressed by myself!)
She rolls around on the ground sticking her legs into the wrong holes, tangling herself up in the overall straps, struggling and grunting. Mama bear (literally, they are bears) looks on with a worried brow. It’s taking every ounce of her not to step in and help.
Throughout the book, Mama offers to help Mimi with various things: getting a glass of milk, going to the park, climbing the ladder on the playground. But every single time, Mimi says “No!” she wants to do it herself.
The letters are big, the sentences are short, and there’s a rhythm, a repetition, and a predictability to the story and the language used to tell it. All of this makes it satisfying for a new reader, plus it’s hilarious to see such a tiny tyke try to pour a glass of milk while Mama is hovering nearby, sweating and wringing her hands over the impending milk disaster.
Finally, Mimi bumps her head after sliding down the slide all by herself. Mama rushes in and asks Mimi if she wants a hug. “No!” Mimi says predictably. But on the next page she says, “¡Mimi le dará un abrazo a Mamá!”(Mimi will give Mama a big hug!).
Such a sweet, empowering ending. The capacity for the child to be the source of comfort to the Mama, and the not-so-subtle recognition that Mimi was fine all along; it was Mama who was having a hard time. This makes for a lesson that hits square in the heart for both child and parent.
I just love this book, and I’m so proud of Bilingual Baby for reading it all by herself.