Several new vigorous volumes promote a new year’s resolve to read aloud more around the house. One deluxe collection is An Illustrated Treasury of Latino Read-Aloud Stories (Black Dog & Leventhal/Workman, $14.95, ages 4 to 8), illustrated by various artists. Forty gems of Latino culture sparkle here, reflecting a time-honored storytelling tradition lovely for intergenerational sharing. Included are classic pre-Columbian myths and legends, magical fables and fairy tales, modern history and biography – even a selection from Rudolpho Anaya’s Bless Me Ultima. The paintings are spaced evenly between the English and Spanish versions – yes, besides being handsomely designed, this book is bilingual.
Journey even further afield with Chinese Children’s Favorite Stories (Tuttle Publishing, $16.95, ages 6 to 10), in which 13 folktales are retold and illustrated by Mingmei Yip. Irresistible titles include “Chang-E Flies to the Moon,” “The Ghost Catcher,” “Playing the Qin for the Water Buffalo” and “The Monkey King Turns the Heavenly Palace Upside Down.” Universal truths, well-told and prettily packaged, from an ancient culture.
Fifteen of the world’s most delicious-to-recite poems comprise Once Upon a Poem: Favorite Poems that Tell Stories (Scholastic, $18.95, all ages). Edward Lear sings of “The Owl and the Pussy-cat,” Lewis Carroll garbles “Jabberwocky,” Roald Dahl skewers “Goldilocks and the Three Bears” and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow chimes in with “Paul Revere’s Ride.” All the story-poems are opulently illustrated by various English artists.
– Kathleen Krull