The lyrics to a children's song from the '60s serve here as text to introduce a variety of cultures to young readers. An adventurous boy boards a plane bound for various points around the globe. At each destination he asks the question "What is your language?'' and receives a response from some friendly native kids, e.g., "My language is Chinese / This is the way it sounds: / shi shi shi shi shi shi.'' Although a page with a simplified musical score and an endnote about languages--containing a pronunciation key--are somewhat informative, their isolation from the text makes for a disjointed reading experience. Readers must infer from stereotypical objects in Wellington's flat gouache and watercolor paintings which country is being visited. The moon-faced children all wear the same vapid but cheerful expression throughout the book. Though the emphasis on cultural tolerance is promising, this volume delivers little more than the translation of "yes'' and "no'' into a few foreign languages. Ages 2-6. (Jan.)
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
PreS-Gr 1-In this song in picture-book format, a young boy traveling around the world asks the youngsters he encounters, "What is your language? Please tell me now.'' Each group responds with the name of their native tongue and then replies, "This is the way it sounds....'' The boys and girls say the word "yes'' in German, French, Russian, Inuktitut, Japanese, Chinese, Arabic, Swahili, and Spanish. Then, when the traveler says he must go home, on one page they all say "no'' in their respective languages. On each double-page spread, smiling children are dressed in crayon-bright native costumes. In the backgrounds are samples of national architecture or scenery- half-timbered houses in Germany, snow and igloos in the far North, a richly patterned bazaar in the Middle East. The music, information about where the languages are spoken, and a pronunciation guide are appended. Decorative flags (unidentified) and a world-map endpapers (only continents are named) are included. A simple multicultural offering.-Nancy Seiner, The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh
Based on a 1960s song by Leventhal, this picture book introduces global diversity in the simplest way. A small child in New York City packs his bag, boards a plane, and travels all over the world. Each double-page spread of clear illustrations in bright primary colors shows him in a new country; each time he asks the children there, "What's your language?" and each time they answer with the name of their language--English, German, French, Russian, Inuktitut, Japanese, Chinese, Arabic, Swahili, and Spanish--and they chant the word that means "yes" for them. With very young kids, the book can be read aloud and sung (the music notation is appended). The endpapers have clear world maps showing names of continents and oceans, and national flags border the back of the jacket. For older kids, there are detailed notes at the back about each language, including a pronunciation guide. Of course, representation is of the simplest tourist kind of food, costume, and travelogue scenery; however, along with the pleasure of adventure is the recognition of community with kids everywhere. In a nice reversal, when the boy says finally that he has to go home, all the children shout their word for "no."