This picture book for young readers uses simple English and Spanish words to describe Marleth, a little girl who lives alone in a jungle cave. Each English sentence is translated into Spanish. Individual words about colors and shapes appear near the end of the book, but are not part of the story.
The “story” is not a story in the traditional sense, with a conflict and resolution. No explanation is given for why a little girl lives alone in a jungle cave. The book merely offers a description of the girl’s life among the plants and animals.
From the English: “Marleth lived alone, but she had many friends. The animals were her friends. The plants and animals were her friends. She was happy living alone. Her cave was not large, but comfortable. Nature was her friend. All the clouds and sky were her friends.”
After a few pages describing the paintings and supplies inside her cave, the text continues naming friends. “Marleth had many friends: the butterflies, the bees, the iguanas, the fish, the parrots, the jaguars, and all the rest of the jungle animals. Her friends from the jungle were always with her.”
Curious stylistic choices may confuse readers. The childlike illustrations (apparently provided by the author’s grandchild who appears unnamed in a photograph) are often too small for the space provided. There’s also a full-sized baby picture of the author, two pages of blue marker drawings (presumably for coloring), two pages of unidentified family photographs, and back cover copy describing the author’s affinity for French. Strangely, no text on the inside or outside says it will teach Spanish to children.
Those who can overlook such presentation issues will find that the book presents Spanish words and sentences that may be useful for young children to learn. Adults might need to help early readers initially, but after a few readings, children can probably tackle this book on their own.
Also available as an ebook.