“Brown Bear, Brown Bear” by Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carle (“Oso pardo, oso pardo, ¿qué ves ahí?“) is one of my favorite books to read to my kids in Spanish. The book is simple, repetitive, and provides the kids with the chance to focus on learning colors and animals. Since the English version of the story is familiar to my daughter, she was initially resistant, as are many toddlers, to calling the animal by their Spanish name and would revert to the English version of the story with which she was most familiar. To combat this issue, I introduced a felt story board and encouraged her to place each animal on the board as we came to them in the story. This worked very well! Once she was familiar with the story, I was able to read the book without her seeing the pictures and she could tell the story herself with the felt pieces.
DMCraftDesigns has a fantastic “Brown Bear, Brown Bear” felt flannel board set for sale on Etsy. The set is beautiful and very similar to the illustrations in the book. My daughter loved them, but they are more expensive ($25). Please note that this particular set does have googly eyes glued onto the fabric, so if you have very young children you may wish to consider a less elaborate set. The heat was high at the time the order was shipped to me and a couple of the googly eyes fell off after subjected to some rough, but typical toddler play. Some quick work from my glue gun countered this problem quickly. This is the set we use most often and the one pictured in this blog post.
A slightly cheaper version (just under $20) is available from Little Folk Visuals on Amazon – prime eligible. This set is also very nice, but the pieces are large and it can be difficult to fit all the images onto a smaller felt board at one time. The pieces are 100% felt, so offer the added advantage of not having to contend with googly eyes!
A cheaper (FREE) option is available through Gymboree’s Print and Play Eric Carle Collection. After clicking this link, you will need to scroll down to the bottom of the page to find the links for the printables. Print “Create a World” or “Memory Game” depending on the desired size of the illustrations. Since we are huge fans of the felt board, we laminated the images and added Velcro Dots to the back so they would stick to our felt board. We have a MooreCo Inc Tabletop Flannel Easel, which we love, but have mounted to the wall. The easel is very light weight and easy to move and the stand/legs that come with the board slide on and off easily, but also tend to fall off when you pick up or move the easel. I use a Swingline GBC Inspire Thermal Laminator and have found it to be just fine. If anyone has strong opinions about this or another laminator feel free to share!
If you are new to reading Spanish books or are concerned about pronunciation, I highly recommend this audio recording of the reading aloud of “Brown Bear, Brown Bear” (“Oso pardo, oso pardo”) on you tube from Peabody. It’s a little older, but the recording is clear and very helpful! The first part of the video focuses on the colors, then the entire book is read.
I hope sharing these resources that have helped me, helps those of you who are also trying to introduce the Spanish language to your toddlers and preschoolers!
Do you have a favorite book to read to your children in Spanish or other resources to share? I’d love to hear from you!