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Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
A Multicultural Picnic: Little Polyglot Adventures, Book 3 is an educational adventure picture book for children written by Victor D.O. Santos and illustrated by Eszter Miklos. Dylan and Isabella loved the picnics the family would have whenever their grandparents from Brazil and grandmother from Ukraine came to visit. Those picnics had become a tradition the two siblings treasured and looked forward to. They were getting more and more fluent in Portuguese and Ukrainian as their parents and grandparents had always made sure to involve them in those languages and helped them build their language skills. Isabella and Dylan also have had the opportunity to learn Zulu from Dylan’s friend, Emma, and her parents, who were also at the picnic this year. Other kids at the park noticed the multicultural picnic and made fun of it when they saw Dylan, Isabella, and Emma playing later on. Soon, however, one of those boys learned just how awesome being multilingual and multicultural really was.
Linguists have often posited that second language acquisition is most easily attained when a child is young, and Victor D.O. Santos provides an excellent example of just how powerful early exposure can be. Seeing as Emma, Isabella, and Dylan quickly pick up their new friend Lee’s lessons in Mandarin is inspiring. And to help young readers experience the magic of speaking in other languages, the author provides a link and QR code that gives them the correct pronunciation for each of the words used in the book. A Multicultural Picnic also examines the value of friendship which can exceed and expand cultural boundaries and awareness; teaching kids that being different is something to celebrate and appreciate in others. Eszter Miklos’ illustrations are marvelous! Each panel provides young readers with plenty of details to discover; I especially liked the map that’s on a dresser which shows countries the children’s grandparents are from. A Multicultural Picnic normalizes what for many Americans is an exotic concept -- learning other languages -- and it demonstrates how easily it can be accomplished especially when a child is young, and that’s a good thing indeed. It’s most highly recommended.