Mis Abuelos Y Yo: My Grandparents and Me
by Samuel Caraballo; illustrated by D. Nina Cruz
The trouble with bilingual poems for kids is that the English language often comes off looking like the hulking fat kid who stumbles and farts his way to class clownhood. In this ode to a boy's beloved Puerto Rican grandparents, the Spanish verses fairly dance to its easy rhythms and seamless rhymes. The translation, however, plods wincingly:
On cool nights, under the stars,
we take pictures of cruise-liners
and admire all of the cars
that arrive on big freighters.
There's no real story here, just a sugary paean to some pretty cool grandparents that leaves a pleasant enough aftertaste. Cruz' watercolors add no little narrative extras, they just do their job and go home.