Multicultural Picture Book

Monte Farres

"Rubia and the Three Osos"

Rubia And The Three Osos is a Spanish rendition of Goldilocks And The Three Bears. It tells the same story, but Rubia is littered with Spanish vocabulary throughout the book. It is not just in the written text: it is in the story. For example, the Bear family’s doormat says Bienvenido! instead of Welcome. The paintings and drawings on the walls have Spanish text in them. If the reader is familiar with the story of Goldilocks, then the Spanish words should translate well. If not, there is a Spanish glossary at the back of the book.

AD450L - recommended for children ages 5-8

The Author & The Illustrator

Susan Middleton Elya was born in Iowa. She grew up in the suburbs of Des Moines. Ever since she was a child she loved to write. She used to write diary entries on a daily basis when she was in grade school. That routine didn’t change much when she was a teenager, either. She attended Iowa State University with the hopes of becoming a teacher. But along the way, she learned about Spanish culture and became enamored with it, which led to her double majoring in elementary education and Spanish. She was a teacher in Iowa, Nebraska and California for many years, with an emphasis on teaching Spanish. the course of her career, she wrote many children’s books (many with Spanish themes). Other popular books of hers include Little Roja Riding Hood, Say Hola To Spanish & Bebe Goes Shopping.

Melissa Sweet was born in New Jersey. She grew up in a typical, middle class family. She admits was not a great student: she mainly excelled in art. She was great at drawing, but over time, she honed her skills in pottery and pointing (with a strong emphasis in watercolors). When she was a young woman, she got a job as an illustrator for the Pinky & Rex book series. From there, she illustrated many other books. She even wrote some of her own material! Some of Sweet’s most popular books include Carmine: A Little More Red, Balloons Over Broadway & The Write Word. Many of her works have received considerable praise.

What Are The Strengths Of This Book?

*The blend of English and Spanish languages in the book works very well. Goldilocks is a story that most children are familiar with, so the Spanish translation flows well. For example, the part where Rubia tastes everyone’s sopa (soup) is easy to understand for all readers. She exclaims that the father’s soup is caliente (hot), the mother’s soup is frio (cold) and the cub’s soup is prefecto (perfect). These translations are new to the reader, but they are not challenging.

*The rhymes in the book never feel forced or out of place. The author rhymes oro (gold) with adoro (adore) and it makes sense in the context of the story. The same goes for masa (bread) and casa (house). Both words rhyme, but they fit within the story. They do not go together just because they are rhyming words.

*The quality of the book is very good. The illustrations are well drawn out and very colorful. The story is familiar, but the ending of the book is much different compared to the original ending. In the fairy tale version, Goldilocks runs away and never returns to the house. But in the updated Spanish version, Rubia runs home, makes a new batch of soup, and returns to the Bear house to make amends. This version is more optimistic than its predecessor, while still retaining a positive message about helping others.

Vocabulary Words

*Osos (bear): a large, mammal that has thick fur and lives in forests all over the world. This word is important because the story involves a bear family.

*Silla (chair): an object for someone to sit on. This word is important because Rubia sits on everyone’s chair.


C: 0 when the teacher is reading, 1 when answering questions asked by the teacher

H: Raise hands when help is needed

A: Sitting during this assignment

M: Movement may be limited

P: Participation is determined when students answer questions asked by the teacher

S: Success is determined by the analysis chart being filled in at the end of the read-aloud

Talking Notes

Text like this are the spoken words of the teachers.

(Text with parentheses and underlining indicates what the teacher/class does).

Text in Italics represents questions (?) that need to be asked to the students


(the students will move up to the front of the room and sit down to prepare for reading)

Who’s heard of Goldilocks and the Three Bears?

Well, class, I am going to read you a story that sounds a lot like Goldilocks and the Three Bears. However, many of the words in this story are Spanish words. Who knows how to speak Spanish?

This book is called Rubia and the Three Osos: written by Susan Middleton Elya, and illustrated by Melissa Sweet. Together we are going to learn a few Spanish words that are here inside this book! I will ask you questions while I am reading!

(turn to pages 1-2, begin reading the story)

Here are our first Spanish words! What are osos? What are platos? What is sopa?

(turn to pages 3-4, continue reading)

Papa said si! What does si mean?

(turn to pages 5-6, continue reading)

There are several new words here on this page. Let’s see what they are! What is oro? What is a casita? What does adoro mean?

(turn to pages 7-8, continue reading)

Wow! More Spanish words! What is la puerta? What is the opposite of hot? What is eso?

(turn to pages 9-10, continue reading)

More Spanish words! What is a silla? What is the difference between dura and suave?

(turn to pages 11-12, continue reading)

Look at what we have here! More Spanish words! What is last tres camas? What does buena mean?

(turn to pages 13-14, continue reading)

Guess what? More Spanish words! What is la mesa? What does sorpresa mean?

(turn to pages 25-26, continue reading)

We haven’t seen any new Spanish words in a while! Look at what we found! What does lo siento mean? What is a carretilla?

(turn to pages 27-28, continue reading)

What is masa? What does es tu casta mean?

(turn to pages 29-30, continue reading)

What does fabuloso mean?

(close the book and ask the following questions)

Should Rubia have entered the house? Why not?

Why were the Osos upset? Did they have a right to be upset?

When Rubia came back to the Osos house, what did she do? Who did she apologize to?

Is the ending of this book different from Goldilocks and the Three Bears? If so, what?

Word Activity! we are going to find out what Rubia liked about the Oso house and what she disliked about it.

Did Rubia like Papa's sopa? Why not? What about Mama's sopa? Why not? What about Bebe's sopa?

Did Rubia like Papa's silla? Did she like Mama's silla? Did she like Bebe's silla? She did, but what happened when she sat in it?

Did Rubia like sleeping in Papa's cama? Did she like Mama's cama? What about Bebe's cama?

(Make sure to mark down negative signs for the answers that do not match up, and plus signs for the answers that do match up. Plus signs go for all three items in Bebe's column.)


Sopa ____________ _____________ ________________

Silla _____________ _____________ ________________

Camas _____________ _____________ ________________


Why was this particular book selected? How did it “match” the funds of knowledge of this particular class/group of students?

Rubia and the Three Osos was selected for two reasons.

*One: the book provided a fresh twist on a classic fairy tale. It was the same exact story as Goldilocks, but it rhymed and the Spanish words were new concepts. Essentially, the book was an excellent blend of both old and new.

*Two: Every student in the student already knew the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. So they already had background knowledge, which made the story easy to translate.

What were the strengths of the read aloud/the picture book/vocabulary teaching presentation?

*I was very expressive while reading, so I think that helped keep the students interested.

*I asked the kids a lot of questions throughout the reading of the book. This could've been a misfire but the kids were very engaged and they all got an opportunity to answer the questions. Plus, the questions were simple enough that the kids were not overwhelmed.

*The semantic analysis features chart was a hit. This activity got the entire class hooked.

What would I need to do differently next time?

*I was incredibly nervous at first. I'm not a great public speaker and my confidence was lacking. I did stutter a couple times at the beginning. However, after the first 6 or 7 pages, the kids were so engaged that my self-consciousness started to disappear.

*Even though the entire class did well with the semantic analysis chart, I wish I would have given the students a list of the Spanish words we discussed in class. That could have been handy for them later on, but there is a good chance that they would have thrown it away or lost it before they started learning Spanish in school.

Respond to the following open-ended statement: Implementing multicultural children’s literature that is culturally and linguistically diverse relative to my elementary students has …

changed some of my previous viewpoints in regards to foreign language education. At first I didn't really see the need for implementing a book like Rubia and the Three Osos to a kindergarten class. I honestly wasn't sure if most of them would understand these new words. But since there are several Hispanic students in the class who were familiar with some of the words, it made the lesson go a lot smoother than what I expected. Even though it there were quite a few words in the book that I translated, the students followed along really well. I realize that teaching students about a new language can be challenging. But this activity was very effective and it makes me wonder: is it possible to teach a foreign language to pre-kindergarten classes? I'm not sure but after this lesson I believe it may be worth a shot.


I selected Rubia and the Three Osos for two reasons.

-The book was an excellent blend of old and new. It had many of the same features as Goldilocks and the Three Bears, but the rhyme factor and the Spnaish vocabulary words gave it a unique twist.

-Every student in the class knew Goldilocks and the Three Bears, so their background knowledge matched up well with this material.


-The story was read in an expressive, excited manner, which helped sell it to the kids. If I showed no interest in the story, then they would show no interest either.

-The kids responded to every question I asked during the read-aloud. Every single question received some kind of enthusiastic response. There were a lot of questions, but they were short, simple and relevant.

-The semantic features analysis chart activity at the end went well. Student involvement was high and they were all engaged.

What would I change?

-I held the semantics analysis chart while marking the answers, which was awkward for me. Next time I will either have a student hold it for me or I will put it against a wall.

-I would go in with more confidence next time. I can get nervous when speaking in front of a group of people (even kids). At first I was sure that the students could tell I was nervous. But after reading the first few pages, the kids were so intrigued by the story and the questions that my self-doubt disappeared rather quickly. Kindergarteners are probably the least judgmental students out there and they just seemed grateful that someone was reading to them.

Respond to the following open-ended statement: Implementing multicultural children’s literature that is culturally and linguistically diverse relative to my elementary students changed my perspective on teaching foreign languages at a young age. I thought this assignment would be a bust. How could I teach kindergarteners Spanish? Even just a few words seemed like a tall task. But I was pleasantly surprised. The kids did struggle with some of the bigger words and phrases. But vocabulary words like cama (bed) and silla (chair) were commonly said throughout the presentation and I think it paid off. I’m not going to advocate for teaching kids a foreign language at such an early age, but I think that it is possible for 6-year-old kids to understand some of the early concepts of speaking Spanish.