Author(s): Susan Middleton Elya
Illustrator/Photographer: Brian Karas
Publisher and Year: P. Putnam’s Sons in 2003
Number of Pages: 28
This book is about a little girl who forgot to go to the bathroom before she got in the car and she tells her parents that she cannot hold it in. As the story continues the little girl and her parents are on a journey to find somewhere to stop so she can use the bathroom, speaking mostly English and using various Spanish words throughout. Then at the end of the book, the family finds a restaurant where the little girl can use the bathroom, but when they get inside the line is super long and they end up going to the front of the line because she cannot wait any longer, and then the little girl feels relieved after using the restroom.
The illustrations in this book are all brightly colored and have many zig zag lines and shapes, these both representing the high energy and troubled emotions that the family feels while scurrying around town looking for a bathroom. The images are definitely needed to help young readers understand the meaning of different Spanish words. In fact, on one page all the stores are labeled with their Spanish name. It was interesting to read a mostly English book that included a variety of Spanish words, but I feel that this is a great way to introduce young readers to a second language, as well as another culture. The illustrator also did a great job of including a variety of ages, genders, and races within the characters; however, I felt that the main characters who were depicted as a Spanish speaking family were misrepresented and looked very White. Another observation I had was that almost all the female characters in the story were wearing either a dress or skirt, which I feel is a stereotype of the way females dress.
When I initially read the story, I perceived it to be a funny story which included some Spanish words. But I believe that this story could be a window for students to learn more about a second language, specifically Spanish, which can be very helpful in teaching young children how to appreciate another culture and language other than their own. I also think this is a great book for children who may come from a dual language household to recognize the value and importance of being able to speak and read in more than one language. Overall, the book can be a great tool for introducing Spanish to young children.