The last few years, Betty & Cat has come to the attention of several academics – full-blown professors like Joël Thibault at the University of Ottawa, and Elodie Combes when she was at the Université de Montréal. Lately, a number of young people studying language have stumbled on Betty & Cat and included the books in their studies.
Academics refer to Betty & Cat as an integrated bilingual book, as opposed to the traditional ones that are translated. My own feeling, based on my own character and experience (no patience to read the same thing twice!) is that integrated is the way to go. For kids who are studying another language, integrated is more fluid. The story doesn’t suffer from repetition. It’s also more rewarding – when you’ve finished the book, you’ve read a story in the target language, with only context and illustrations to point the way.
Here’s a blog by Joël Thibault on his latest study: