CM . . .
. Volume XIII Number 22 . . . . June 22, 2007
Sky Blue Accident is a very short English/Spanish bilingual poem. When presented in conjunction with the illustrations, the poem tells the tale of a child who crashes his bicycle into the sky. He breaks the sky and attempts to hide its pieces. He shows them to his teacher, and she sprouts wings and flies away. When clouds get lost in the streets, other children attempt to paint the hole in the sky blue. They run out of paint, and so the boy fills the remaining hole with the pieces of real sky from his pocket.
The poem's sense of whimsy will capture children's imagination. The sparse text leaves plenty of room for children's interpretations. The illustrations may do even more to catch young readers and listeners. Piet Grobler mixes media to his advantage. For example, when the moon (complete with hare on the moon) directs traffic, a car drives off graph paper. The bright faces of the children emphasize the sky's new white emptiness.
The translations are quite close to literal with a sense of poetry retained in either language. The entire book is, in fact, bilingual, from the copyright information to the notes on the dust jacket. Because of the ease of comparing the text from one language to the next, the poem might be useful in a Spanish bilingual classroom setting or for older children learning Spanish as a second language.
Renée Englot, who holds a Master of Arts in Children's Literature, is a former junior high school teacher now working as a professional storyteller in school settings.
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