Title: I'm as Quick as a Cricket: Veloz como el grillo
Author: Audrey Wood
Illustrator: Don Wood
Format: Board Book
Publisher: Child's Play International Ltd, UK (1982)
Language: English / Spanish (bilingual)
ISBN: 978-1-84634-401-3 (my copy) 9781846434068
This sweet bilingual book for toddlers presents the different sides of a child's personality. In ABAB rhyming form (in English, not in Spanish), the poem deals in different and often conflicting sides of a child's personality. The message of the book is that however you feel on any given day, it is indeed good to be you.
I love bilingual books for bilingual families because they can be read by either parent in their own language. In this case, I imagine that the parent can linger on each page, letting the child notice the details in each picture. In each picture of this book the child interacts imitates an animal in a certain style, suggesting that the reader do the same.
Another thing I LOVE about this book is that you can't say for sure whether the child in the pictures is male or female despite being obviously the same child. On some pages you might guess the child is a boy, on other pages you might guess she is a girl, based only on vague cues that I can't even articulate well. In fact, I find myself basing my guess on things that I later feel are my own ingrained gender stereotypes. The point is that you could read this book to either a boy or a girl and have them identify with the feelings in the book.
See how each picture really captures the emotion of the child while deliberately staying away from "gender marketing" the book? The pale pink sheets of the bed and the blue pajamas, the rosy cheeks of the child cuddling the rabbit and the strong angle of the child swimming next to the shark. Certain cues like the swimsuit could push you one way or the other as a reader (in fact Amazon refers to the child as a little boy), but I maintain that you could read this book either way. Hey, haven't you ever let a little girl go swimming in her shorts?
Either way this book works as a book that a parent would read to a child on their lap. It's very suited to its bilingual format with the spanish words written in a different colour, It's playful tone with the child interacting with and imitating each animal suggests that your child would do the same during the reading of this book, whichever language you chose to read it in. One thing to note is that it doesn't seem to be easily available in this bilingual format anymore. In my family (bilingual in Japanese and English) I would have immediately made my own stickers in Japanese for a DIY bilingual board book. The format maximizes the value of a book for families who want to encourage their child's bilingual language development and strong self-esteem concurrently.
An Australian who lived in Japan with my bicultural family now living in the USA, I believe that there are more different realities than there are books to be written.