Dora's Christmas Parade by Leslie Valdes

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Dora's Christmas Parade by Leslie Valdes

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Category: For Sharing
Rating: 2/5
Reviewer: Magda Healey
Reviewed by Magda Healey
Summary: Dora the Explorer goes on a Christmas musical walk to her Grandma's. Clunky, cumbersome and an offence to both English and Spanish languages.
Buy? No Borrow? No
Pages: 32 Date: October 2003
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
ISBN: 0689858434

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Dora the Explorer has been, I suspect, designed as a way of either familiarising English-speaking children with a smattering of Spanish or (and?) brining the Latin (Mexican?) community closer to the lives of English speaking little children in the US.

There is a cartoon (I have never watched it so cannot judge); computer games (my daughter acquired one somehow, and used to really like it) and also book spin-offs.

Books made of films, cartoons, TV shows or computer games are invariably poor, ranging from really bad to barely average. This one is no exception and is closer to the 'really bad' end of spectrum.

There is nothing fundamentally wrong nor particularly interesting, enriching or enlightening about the story. Dora and her friend Boots are celebrating Christmas with the family. But Dora's grandmother is not feeling well so she stay at her home. Dora wants to see her and they decide to use their new instruments for a musical parade to Granny's house.

The problem with this book is the disastrous mixture of English and Spanish that it uses. The English text is constantly interspersed with Spanish words, and although some of them might be justified (use of Abuela for Grandma for example) most of the instances sound just plain wrong.

I know bilingual families (and bilingual people) often mix languages when talking. I do, in fact. And my own child calls her Polish grandmother Babcia as this is what Grandmothers are called in Polish (and it's a convenient way of distinguishing from the British one, bit like having Nan and Gran if you are a native).

But I feel that there is something deeply wrong with producing a book for small children which reproduces this pattern. I know how hard it's to strive for consistency within at least a sentence, never mind a whole piece of speech and I don't like seeing such reckless mixing in a book! Listen: "We'll go on parranda to Abuela's house" - ouch!!!

There is some nice euphony to do with the repeated song pattern and the music-making, and that's why this gets an extra star, but even with this it's not very good and it doesn't make up for the disaster that such misguided language mixing is. Mongrel language is not the way to teach and for any bilingual child or parent trying to speak in one language at the time Dora sounds just awful!

Those who like Dora should stick to computer games or (possibly) cartoons and leave the 'books' well alone as they are just not worth bothering with.

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Dave said:

This is really disappointing as the TV show mixes the Spanish and English really well. It teaches numbers, colours and various popular spanish terms while keeping the sentences intact. Mind you, the programme has the advantage of explaining what the words mean as it goes. Something this book might have benefited from. One that I will now have to strike off my daughter's christmas list.