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Looking for Bongo by Eric Velasquez. Holiday House, 2016

A small, pajama-clad boy is on a morning hunt at home for Bongo. “Dónde está Bongo?” He asks Wela, his grandmother; Gato the cat; Daisy the dog; and his dad. He tries to ask his mom, but she’s busy. Even the delivery man at the door is questioned. No one knows where Bongo is. The boy finally finds Bongo, a small brown-and-white stuffed animal dog, peeking out from behind a set of bongo drums. “Tonight I will hold on to Bongo so he won’t run away.” It turns out Bongo isn’t on the run, but someone else is in this picture book with an ending that is surely a surprise to the boy and may be to child readers and listeners, although others may have noticed a certain look on the guilty party’s face earlier in the story. The illustrations in this picture book featuring an Afro- Latino family provide a wonderful sense of home and warmth and morning routine. (Ages 3–6)  © Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Try these early literacy activities with children:

  • Read: In the book, what do you think Bongo is? Can you find clues in the pictures or words that help you guess what Bongo is?
  • Talk: Do you have a favorite stuffed animal? What kind of animal is it? How did you get it? What do you call it? What can you do with a stuffed animal that you can’t do with a live animal?
  • Sing:  “Who Stole the Cookies From the Cookie Jar?”
  • Write: Draw a picture of your family. Who is in your family?
  • Play: Hide a toy and work together to find it.
  • Math or Science: Recreate the booby trap at the end of the book. Or, try making your own pretend way to catch someone.

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