Thursday, March 4, 2010

Pio Peep! and Muu Moo! Traditional Spanish nursery rhymes for young children (ages 2-6)

I really enjoy sharing poetry and stories from other cultures with young children. Here is a wonderful collection of traditional Spanish nursery rhymes and songs, in both Spanish and English. It's perfect for toddlers and young children, but would also be great to explore with slightly older children who are leaning Spanish.
¡Pío Peep! Traditional Spanish Nursery Rhymes
selected by Alma Flor Ada and F. Isabel Campoy
English adaptations by Alice Schertle
illustrations by Vivi Escriva
NY: HarperCollins, 2003
ages 2 - 6
Alma Flor Ada and Isabel Campoy, both Bay Area local teachers and writers, collected nursery rhymes and songs from across Spain, Latin America and the American Southwest, especially looking for traditional songs and rhymes from their childhoods. Shared in both Spanish and English, these nursery rhymes are sweet, simple and musical. The original Spanish rhymes are paired with English versions that are not direct translations, but rather “poetic recreations”.  An fun example is Cinco Pollitos / Five Little Chicks (I apologize for not being able to add the correct accents).
Cinco Pollitos
Cinco pollitos
tiene mi tia:
Uno le canta,
otro le pia
y tres le tocan la chirimia.

Five Little Chicks
Rum-a-tum-tum, whistles and sticks,
my auntie makes music with five little chicks:
One is a singer,
another can hum,
three play the melody: rum-a-tum-tum.

(c) Alma Flor Ada, Isabel Campoy and Alice Schertle

The rhythm and melody of both the Spanish and English versions are wonderful.  They poems and songs are short, so even little children with short attentions will enjoy them. The illustrations are bright and cheerful, and really develop the feelings in a lovely way. You can browse inside the book at the HarperCollins website. 

Best news of all: these collaborators are just publishing a follow-up to this collection: ¡Muu, Moo! This collection will have animal nursery rhymes in both English and Spanish.  Again, Alma Flor Ada and Isabel Campoy have collected traditional rhymes from Spain, Latin America and the United States. In addition, they have included some of their own original poems. Thanks to Fuse#8 for the HarperCollins Librarian Preview for alerting me to this! Muu, Moo! will be released March 9th.

Poetry Friday is being hosted this week by Teaching Books. Stop by their site for a great roundup of inspiring original poetry and reviews of poetry collections.

You can find ¡Pío Peep! at your local library using WorldCat, local bookstores, or on Amazon.  If you make a purchase on Amazon, please use this link: ¡Pío Peep! and small portion will go to Great Kid Books (at no cost to you). This link on Amazon for ¡Pío Peep! also includes a CD with the nursery rhymes in both Spanish and English, along with original music: a great bonus!  This will be used to purchase more books to review. Thank you for your support! You can also use the widgets below to go directly to Amazon:


  1. Such a cute book! Here's another for you, which I illustrated and is about to come out april 10. Chinese and English Nursery Rhymes:Stories and Songs to Share, Tuttle, april 2010.

  2. Thanks so much for the beautiful reviews of my books Pio Peep and MuuMoo. Collecting the richness of the popular poetry has been a joy, since these rhymes enriched my own childhood and those of my children. Isabel Campoy and I have also retold many traditional folktales in the collection Tales Our Abuelitas Told, as an individual titles Three Golden Oranges, Half-Chicken, The Lizard and the Sun, The rooster who went to his uncle's wedding. I'll let my publishers know about your blog. If you do not receive copies from them, let me know. I may be able to get you some.
    All best wishes to all who read this comment and thanks again for the reviews and the wonderful blog. Alma Flor Ada.

  3. Thank you so much, Alma, for the kind words. You brought sunshine to my cloudy, windy day! I have put these on request from my local library. They have a strong collection of your work! As new collections come out, please do keep me in mind.

    again, many thanks - Mary Ann