Review: Por El Camino

Por El Camino
Author & Illustrator: Mariana Ruiz Johnson
Kalandraka Publishing

You can start reading
this book with your
child, at birth.

A beautifully illustrated counting book, Por El Camino, takes its readers on a journey down the road to a birthday party unlike they’ve ever seen seen. Written in Spanish, it reinforces or teaches the numbers one through ten using vivid imagery, accessible poetry and simple, repetitive language.

Quick Rating: Buy & Keep


A beautiful find, my husband and I stumbled upon this book in our favorite Spanish language children’s bookstore El Dragon Lector, while vacationing in Spain. It tells the story of various animal families on their way to a birthday party for a very lucky whale. The families, not content with simply bringing the whale gifts, each take a turn changing the number of gifts they bring and rhyming along the way!  The gifts are food items for a big banquet.

The book concludes with a soft-ending at the whale’s birthday party with all the families celebrating the whale’s birthday and the food on a huge table. It ends with the whale swimming off to sleep, the food safe in its belly!


Ruiz Johnson employs bold, vivid colors to capture and keep attention. Her images are clearly defined, and the colors jump off the page without assaulting the eyes.  Interestingly, she has applied a light dotting technique to texture the board book’s pages adding depth to the images and adding overall warmth to the book.  Each animal “family” retains its own color “family” while maintaining itself within the overall color scheme of the book.  What we’re left with, is a visual feast for the eyes.

The illustrations themselves are quirky and whimsical.  I have seen her style, particularly in this book, described elsewhere as macabre.  Please.  The illustrations are silly, dramatic, and provoke the imagination.  Anybody who has taken the time to sit and read the book with a four-year-old will come to the same conclusion.

The Birthday Party!

It’s On My Bookshelf

Aimed primarily at five to six-year-olds, this book is a definite keeper.  However, I vehemently disagree with the given age recommendation.  Whether your child is a native Spanish speaker or not, you can start reading this book with your child at birth.  The rhymes are gorgeous and reinforce language skills.  The counting is interesting and varied.  Each number is not only represented by different animals, but by different items as well. 

Por El Camino is exactly the kind of book you should invest in because it lends itself to repetition and memorization. You want your child to memorize the rhymes (building language skills with the built in cadences) and they will learn to count at the same time. As a BONUS, you can sing the book!  A beautiful song has been composed specifically to make the book easier to learn. Take a look at the YouTube video below. [End.]

If you want to purchase a copy of Por El Camino, and support my endeavors at the same time, you can click on one of the links below. No extra cost to you, and it will help me out! More books to read, more reviews to do!

Please, leave comments! I love a HEALTHY exchange of ideas. After all, critical thinking is essential to life.

Por El Camino (Hardcover at Amazon)*

If you’d like to preview the book, here’s read aloud with a SONG!:

More books for this Age Group can be found here.

*As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

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