Dulemba, Elizabeth O. Soap, soap, soap = Jabón, jabón, jabón. McHenry, IL: Raven Tree Press, 2009.
Soap, Soap, Soap, tells the story of Hugo and his trip to fetch soap for his mother from the market. The only problem is that Hugo keeps forgetting what he is supposed to purchase. Soap, Soap, Soap (Jabon, Jabon, Jabon) is Elizabeth’s first picture book as both the author and the illustrator. Raven Tree Press publishes the book in an English only and a Bilingual English/Spanish edition.
I enjoyed the bilingual addition very much and was pleased with how seamlessly the Spanish vocabulary (printed in red) was included in the text. I was actually hoping for more Spanish, perhaps a side by side translation and wonder what the editorial decisions were surrounding this issue.
I had a great time following the main character as he tried to accomplish his mother’s task through Elizabeth’s wavy, whimsical town, but I had a hard time believing that the main character would loose his train of thought so quickly. How could someone be so forgetful? However, this past week I have misplaced my keys, and my cell phone, forgotten an oil delivery, and left my wash to mildew for three days. I also had to have my own kiddo repeat, “Get dressed, collect my laundry,” three times this morning. And he still needed to be sent back upstairs to get pants. Hugo’s journey seems more believable now.
Elizabeth Dulemba’s digital illustrations have appeared in trade and educational titles and the SCBWI national bulletin. In Soap, Soap, Soap, Elizabeth creates a wonderful array of diverse and true-to-life characters. Hugo and his friend, Jellybean Jones, are especially animated. I love their expressions as they navigate the mud puddle (charco de barro.) Elizabeth uses her character’s body positions (angle, arm position, and visual balance) to convey their inquisitive attitude wonderfully. Perhaps my favorite image is of Hugo on the back cover hanging on the clothesline after his bath. His body is delightfully relaxed and shows so much movement. Kudos to the designer, I love the details in this book: the text design, the endpapers, the soap bars on the pagination.
Elizabeth is well well known on the blog circuit. She has designed cyber-school "Virtual Visits" so that schools with smaller travel budgets can access guest speakers. Parents and teachers can take advantage of her extensive activities and coloring pages also available on her website and the Raven Tree site.
Whatever you do, make sure that Soap, Soap, Soap is on your holiday shopping list. Don’t forget!