Betty & Cat stories read from top to bottom, instead of left to right, and are not translated. The two characters tell the reader simple stories about their new life together, each in his or her own language. This interaction with the reader ensures that he or she, child or adult, has an incentive to work through both languages, almost like a puzzle, building confidence and language skills along the way.
The ideal age group for these books depends on the child’s level of the targeted language. I know a daycare centre in Amsterdam that reads the books to babies of international parents; a four-year-old French boy refuses to have the English bits translated for him (he speaks no English) – he just wants the story; a Dutch girl of ten just loves the critters, and so on. Most bilingual kids are happy to find their unique way of talking reflected in books.
There are three Betty & Cat stories in total. They are available in various combinations of English, French, and Spanish. Each averages 1200 words.
- Available in Dutch/English:
Thuis bij Betty & Cat At Home
In de Kennel met Betty & Cat In the Kennel
Het sneeuwt bij Betty & Cat In the snow
- Available in Dutch/French:
Thuis bij Betty & Cat Chez eux
- Available in French/English:
Chez Betty & Cat At home
Au chenil avec Betty & Cat In the kennel
Dans la neige avec Betty & Cat In the snow
- Available in Spanish/English:
With Betty & Cat En casa
- Available in Spanish/French:
Chez Betty & Cat En casa
Here’s another point of view from Elodie Combes, an educator in Montreal: