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Check It Out

May 02, 1999

Books recommended for young readers by Ilene Abramson, senior librarian for the Children's Literature Department, Los Angeles Public Library:

Cinco de Mayo--Colorful costumes, tempting tacos, mariachi music and lively libros all contribute to the fiesta atmosphere of this holiday commemorating the French expulsion from Mexico in 1867.

Preschool to first grade: "Fiesta! Cinco de Mayo," by June Behrens.

At school and in the park, children are shown celebrating the holiday by dressing up, dancing, acting, decorating booths and smashing a pinata.

*

Second and third grade: "Mexican Independence Day and Cinco de Mayo," by Dianne M. MacMillian.

Delving into the history of these two holidays, this book introduces children to the reasons behind the festivities.

*

Fourth grade: "Viva Mexico! A Story of Benito Juarez and Cinco de Mayo," by Argentina Palacios.

This biography stresses Juarez's love of learning and his battles to overcome illiteracy, as well as his victories against the French.

*

Fifth grade: "Fiesta!" by Elizabeth Silverthorne.

Instructions for holiday crafts such as making a simple pinata: Put two large paper bags inside one another, fill with candy, fold over and staple ends. Decorate with paint and tissue paper ruffles. Then get out of the way as kids scramble to break the masterpiece with a stick.

Storytime

Some of the books to be read on KCET's "Storytime," Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.

* "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie," by Laura Joffe Numeroff.

A mouse's request for a cookie sets off a whole chain of events. (Theme: sequence of events.)

*

* "The Rough-Faced Girl," by Rafe Martin.

A Native American version of the Cinderella story. (Themes: fairy tale, identity.)

*

* "Go Away, Big Green Monster!" by Ed Emberly.

A color cutout book with shapes that create a big green monster. (Theme: feelings, fear, shapes, colors.)

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