Let’s Eat! / ¡A comer! is a picture book in Spanish and English by Pat Mora. This story fits into any number of my classes. It has family vocabulary, food vocabulary, simple structures, a strong cultural component, and detailed pictures that can be used for all kinds of conversation about home and family.
The story line of Let’s Eat! / ¡A comer! is straightforward. A family comes to the table, and there is plenty of delicious food. A child points out how fortunate they are, and her father, observing his family, agrees. The illustrations are bright and clear and support the text. There is lots of extra detail in the pictures, something that I look for in books I use with Spanish language learners. The cat on the fence, the flowers in the yard, the dishes in the sink, and the bright green chairs are all things I can talk about with kids learning Spanish.
In terms of language, Let’s Eat! / ¡A comer! repeats a few common verbs to tell the story. Forms of venir, ver and mirar appear several times and in structures that can easily be used with children. For example, we read Papá y Abuelita vienen a la mesa. Mis hermanitos, Tina y Danny, vienen también. Then I can ask, ¿Quién viene a la mesa en tu casa? and talk about who comes to the table using the same verb form, viene. We read, Vemos un montón de tortillas calientitas. Vemos una ensalada de lechuga. Then I can ask, En tu casa, ¿qué comida ves en la mesa? And talk about the food on the table using the verb ver. Because the story deals with the everyday event of mealtime, it is easy to personalize.
This is a dual language book, but it uses vocabulary that many beginning Spanish learners know, like family words, food words, tener hambre, and mirar. Because the illustrations support the text, lots of Spanish learners will not need to hear the story in English. This a picture book that children can hear over and over, both for the language and for the message that it is our families that make us rich.