Saturday, March 19, 2011

Book Review: "Un, Deux, Trois" (First French Rhymes)

Un, Deux, Trois: First French Rhymes (Book & CD)

Now that I have my very own little disciples living at my house, I’m more excited than ever about language education and – specifically for the sake of this “bargain blog” – great finds for teaching languages to little ones.

Even if you’re not trying to teach multiple languages to little ones, feel free to keep reading. After all, reliable research proves that the best way to learn a new language is the same way you learned your first language when you were little! (You might pick up some tips for really learning that language you spent two or three years on in high school!)

Those who know me know I love languages. Having had the great privilege of growing up bilingual in South America, (Yes! I realize that fact is a great gift from God!) I’m eager for my children to grow up exposed to (or better yet “immersed in”) at least one other language.

Having majored in languages and second language education and having taught languages in a variety of settings, I’m excited to share the tips I’ve gleaned for how best to teach languages to little ones. So, this is the first of a series of posts on teaching languages to little ones – and perhaps learning the language in order to teach it!

At this point, God’s leading in our lives points to our little ones growing up bilingual like I did. However, I’m still keenly interested in their learning yet another language – partly because of the time and resources I’ve already invested in the (on-going) learning of it and partly because there are great advantages to language learning. So, I’m choosing French as the third language for my little ones.

For the sake of time, I’ll mention only one resource in this post:

Un, Deux, Trois: First French Rhymes (Book & CD) 

We purchased this book and CD set three years ago from when our toddler was already learning both English and Spanish. As is most likely true of all very small children, she was intrigued by the sounds of another language – and the fact that Mommy actually understood what was going on! (We’ve since struggled, living in an English-speaking world, to get her to continue with both primary languages – but chronicling that will provide an abundance of material for other posts...)

Having been reminded recently that babies establish neurological paths for the specific sounds of languages surrounding them (such that they can more easily learn languages later on), I'm eagerly exposing my baby (as well as my toddler) to the sounds of French.

So, back to our book (and CD):

I like:
  • the inclusion of a CD
  • the fact that native French speakers read (and interpret) the rhymes (ensuring the absorption of correct intonation and pronunciation)
  • the simple, tasteful piano accompaniment (to the rhymes) on the CD
  • the variety of rhymes (Some are games; others are songs.)
  • the colorful artwork and layout of the rhymes on the pages (Click on the book to Look Inside!)
I also like the fact that the rhymes are laid out like a journey from the fields to the market place and ulimately to the house in order to help the child use the language meaningfully. Key words are illustrated and labeled throughout the book (thus providing opportunities to learn in small increments as well as larger ones), and the Guide (for teachers and parents) at the back of the book explains the rhymes and how to play some of the games, highlighting useful (idiomatic) phrases that children can use in simple conversations.

Click on the “Look Inside” feature to explore the book!

This book and CD set is currently available from for $9.95 and is also eligible for the 4-for-3 promotion. (Details on the page.)

I was not compensated in any way for this review; all opinions are 100% my own. That said, I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to

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