A multicultural group of babies and their families take part in a cultural celebration, complete with colorful hats, dresses, foods, and dancing. The story, told in rhyme, uses English and Spanish words to bring babies of all ethnicities together in a celebration of Mexican heritage. Amy Cordova received 2011 Pura Belpre Illustration Honors for her bold acrylic colors and brushstroke paintings that bring Ms. Tafolla’s text to life. There are sombreros, serapes, salsa, and happy babies and grownups from diverse backgrounds together to celebrate a grand fiesta. The faces of the participants are joyfully expressive, spreading good feelings. A short glossary at the end of the book defines the Spanish words in simple-to-understand language for young audiences.
The book is a great read-aloud choice. The rhyming text will draw in young listeners, as will the bright colors and exciting new words, for those non-Spanish speakers. There can be a glossary handout for parents and guardians to practice the new words with children after the story time. Fiesta Babies, like Dora the Explorer, can teach children simple Spanish words; some preschoolers may recognize some of the words from Dora episodes. This would be a great multicultural language read-aloud with books like Linda Sue Park and Julia Durango’s Yum! Yuck! A Foldout Book of People Sounds, where children learn common words and phrases in a multitude of languages. There are several websites that offer Spanish language fingerplays and songs and can easily be slotted in to a bilingual story time.