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RUNAWAY RADISH / El rabano que escapo

Author: Janice Levy

Illustrator: Sydney Wright

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Publisher: Raven Tree Press,

Material: hard cover

Summary: Don Pedro has been working in the kitchen all day. He has been sculpting buildings, horses, and knights for his entry in the big contest. The Night of the Radishes (December 23) is almost here, and Don Pedro plans to win first prize. As he is working on the last radish, it jumps from his hand, refusing to be carved for the contest. He has other plans ... and he isn't about to let Don Pedro, a burro, or even the local merchants get in his way. This is a bilingual story that will remind you of The Gingerbread Man.

Type of Reading: bedtime story, playtime reading, read aloud book

Recommended Age: read together: 4 to 8; read yourself: 7 to 10

Interest Level: 5 to 10

Reading Level: 2.4

Age of Child: Read with 7-year-old child.

Young Reader Reaction: "This is a funny story." After the first two times, our listener chimed in to repeat the Radish's chorus: "Places to go, people to see. Out of my way, you can't carve ME!" After we were finished, our daughter wanted to look at the illustrations, as they are filled with activity related to the Radish's adventure.

Adult Reader Reaction: Although the chorus may remind you of The Gingerbread Man, the story is unique, as everyone who played a role in trying to catch the runaway radish benefits from their effort. The illustrations are colorful and full of expressive characters and plenty of activity.

Pros: Colorful images, humor, and a happy ending come together in this picture book that introduces kids to a Mexican holiday.

Cons: None, really. It would have been nice if the vocabulary could be moved to it's own page, along with more information about the Night of the Radishes festival.

Borrow or Buy: Borrow, at least. This has the potential of being a December holiday favorite, particularly for multi-cultural celebrations. The story has enough layers that it can be shared and enjoyed for years.


Educational Themes: There are lots of ways to enjoy this story. With toddlers and preschoolers, you can encourage memory by having them remember the order of who chased the radish first. This is a bilingual book, so you can read the book in English and build on Spanish vocabulary or read the story entirely in Spanish. There is a small blurb about the Night of the Radishes. It is a festival kids aren't likely to know about, and the Internet and your local librarian can probably offer more books.

Notes: Flesch Kincaid reading level 2.4

Literary Categories: Fiction - picture book, bilingual, Spanish, family, Christmas, culture and traditions

Date(s) Reviewed: October 2008

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