Botas nuevas, by Guido Van Genechten, is the Spanish edition of New Boots. It is the story of a child who gets new boots and discovers all the things he can do when he is wearing them. In addition to being a wonderful book for Spanish language learners, it is a story full of enthusiasm and joy that children identify with and love to hear.
The story is simple. John gets new boots and plays outside, discovering all the things he can do. His happiness at being outside and exploring is communicated through bright colors and engaging illustrations. John is so pleased with his day and the things he can do that he decides the boots are super boots and says ¡Mañana podré volver a ponérmelas! (Tomorrow I can put them on again!). The story radiates his appreciation for being able to wear his boots another day.
Grammatically, the book is also very simple, which makes it perfect for Spanish language learners. Apart from the opening and closing pages, the sentences follow one pattern: Con sus botas puede saltar (With his boots, he can jump.) The structure poder (puede) + verb is very common in Spanish. The repetition in the story makes it possible for children to absorb the syntax and the rhythm of the sentences. The repetition also makes it easy for children to concentrate on the meaning of the different verbs. They quickly understand Con sus botas puede … (With his boots he can…), and their attention is focused on the next thing that John can do – a verb, supported by a clear illustration that makes the meaning of that verb clear. They see the picture of John climbing, and understand the verb escalar (to climb).
When you are reading this book with your child, you can reinforce the new Spanish vocabulary and structures by acting out the different things that John can do, and asking your child if she can do them too. Combining physical response with the language helps children process new material more deeply. Children learn much more quickly and retain the vocabulary longer if they can combine it with actions.
For example, after you read the sentence Con sus botas puede correr (With his boots he can run), say Yo puedo correr (I can run) and run a few steps to make the meaning clear. Then point to your child and ask ¿Tú puedes correr? (Can you run?). I have read this book with classes, and the kids have a great time acting out the different verbs as we read. I read the book all the way through first, before introducing the actions. These are the verbs that are used in the story. The illustrations are marvelous and make the text easy to understand.
Patear – kick
Escalar – climb
Saltar – jump
Correr – run
Bailar – dance
Chapotear – splash
Caminar – walk
Sostenerse sobre un solo pie – stand on one foot