A LITTLE FLIGHT READING
For someone who is monolingual with, as they used to say, a smattering of schoolboy French (meaning zilch in conversation, but able to identify a few words in signage), there might be a tussle for ownership of the new First Words book series from Lonely Planet Kids. Say hola, bonjour and hello to the first three languages covered, Spanish, French and English.
There’s 100 words to be learned and pronounced correctly, with the help of delightful illustrations by Andy Mansfield and Sebastian Iwohn. The colours are lollipop heaven and each subject dealt with in a whimsical way – you could frame every one of them. The words are in no discernible order. After our initial hello, the first word to master is ice cream, of course. That’s helado (eh-lah-doh) in Spanish and glace (glas) in French. Toilet makes it into the first half of the entries, but such minor matters`as passport (don’t pronounce the “t” in French and roll your tongue around pass-a-por-teh in Spanish) and money are down the back of the book. They’re concepts better handled by parents. An associated website assists with pronunciation.
What a great gift for kids about to embark on an overseas holiday (or not, why the excuse?). Maybe we can foster a generation that doesn’t just point at things they want in a foreign land or speak mannered and loud (very loud) English. I plead guilty to both.