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¡Marimba!: Animales from A to Z    by Pat Mora & Doug Cushman order for
by Pat Mora
Order:  USA  Can
Clarion, 2006 (2006)
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Daninhirsch

This alphabet picture book features animals dancing to the marimba's ting-tong beat - an attempt to introduce children to the Spanish names of some animals. It is written in what some call Spanglish, a combination of English and Spanish.

Many of the animals featured - including a nutria, quetzal, wapitis, and zebus - are probably unfamiliar to children, though the majority are easily recognizable. For example, the flamencos dance the flamenco, gorilas strum guitars, and koalas serve enchiladas to an orangutan.

A handy pronunciation guide is included at the end of the book, which is probably most helpful to the adults who will be reading the words aloud to the children in their lives.

The best part of this book is not the verse, which at times struggles to find the right cadence, but the illustrations, which feature fun-loving animals in motion: manatees in sombreros, ocelets playing piñata, a papaya-juggling panda, and a samba starring lions and llamas. Cushman uses bold, lively colors to capture the exuberance of the dancing animals, from A to Z.

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