Learn Spanish through Literature: Puss in Boots // El gato con botas

by | Aug 13, 2013 | Uncategorized

Love to see that bilingual tag!

We are on a mission at our house to check out and read through all of the bilingual books from our local library’s catalog.  They recently updated the program for searching through the catalog online, and now we can search through bilingual books only!  One great series we found recently is a bilingual series of classic tales from Chronicle Books.  Each of the books in this series has English text on one side, and Spanish text on another.  Sometimes when reading a bilingual book, I feel uncomfortable with the Spanish translation.  I am not an expert, but often times it seems like the Spanish text is incorrect or sounds unnatural to how a story would actually read in Spanish.  But this series is different.  The Spanish text is superb.

So far, our favorite book in the series has been Puss in Boots/El Gato con botas (affiliate link). Originally written in French by Charles Perrault in 1697, this tale has survived into modern culture, (the character even making it into the Shrek movie series in Shrek 2 and Shrek The Third) and therefore makes for a great bilingual read, as it is a tale so well-known by all.  Perrault also wrote beloved tales like Little Red Riding Hood and Cinderella.  One reason I enjoyed reading Puss in Boots with my boys is that they let me read it to them all in Spanish!  Usually when I begin to read in Spanish, Jefe says, “No! In English!”   But this time was different and we got to read the entire thing in Spanish first.  Perhaps never having read or seen it before provided enough “newness” to captivate them.  Whatever the reason, I felt like it was a milestone for our bilingual journey.

Side note: If you have not read the story, it is about a man who dies and leaves an inheritance to his three sons.  The youngest son receives only the cat, although a clever cat who conspires a way to make his master rich.  Young readers may enjoy a talking cat smart enough to help his poor master appear rich in order to marry a princess; however, it bothered me a bit that the young master was gaining favor with the king and the hand of the princess in marriage through lies.

After reading, we of course looked for ways to extend the story through play.  I am known for saving way too many egg cartons, cereal boxes, and butter tubs, but my hoarding came in handy this time. We found an old ice cream tub that worked perfectly for making a Puss in Boots hat!  Then we also grabbed a paper plate and paint to make a fun Puss in Boots craft.  Here is a list of supplies you need and directions for each craft if you want to make them too!

Puss in Boots Hat
ice cream tub (or any tub that fits like a hat on your child’s head)
empty cereal box
black paint
feather (optional)
hot glue gun


1. Consigue una caja de cereal y una tarrina de helado.
2. Corta la caja en forma de óvalo.
3. Pon la tarrina en el centro del óvalo.
4. Traza la tarrina con un marcador.
5. Dibuja una línea adentro del círculo y corta en esta línea.
6. Pinta el óvalo negro.
7. Pinta la tarrina negro.
8. Pega la tarrina en el óvalo con una pistol encoladora.  Pega un lado del óvalo en hacia arriba en el lado de la tarrina, y pega una pluma detrás de este parte del óvalo.
1. Get an old cereal box and an ice cream tub.
2. Cut the box in an oval shape.
3. Put the tub in the center of the oval.
4. Trace the tub with a marker.
5. Draw a line inside the circle and cut on that line.
6. Paint the oval black.
7. Paint the tub black.
8. Glue the tub on the oval with a hot glue gun.  Glue one side of the oval up on one side of the tub, and glue a feather behind that part of the oval.

Puss in Boots Craft
paper plate
orange paint
black paper
brown paper
googly eyes
permanent marker
tape or glue

We found the awesome idea for the cat craft here!

1. Pinta el plato anaranjado.  (Espera para que seque.)
2. Dibuja líneas en estas formas para hacer el cuerpo, la cabeza, y la cola del gato.  (Haz cliq aquí para una plantilla o vé aquí para una explanación.
3. Corta estas formas del plato.
4. Pega las formas en forma de gato (como está mostrado en la foto).
5. Dibuja una boca y una nariz con marcador, y pega (o dibuja también) los ojos en la cara del gato.
6. Corta un sombrero (plantilla aquí) del papel negro y pega en la cabeza del gato.
7. Corta botas (plantilla aquí) del papel café.
8. Pega las botas en las patas del gato y !expónlo en en algún sitio de la casa!
1. Paint the plate orange. (Wait for it to dry.)
2. Draw lines in these shapes to make a body, head and tail for the cat.  (Click here for a template or go here for an explanation.)
3. Cut these shapes from the plate.
4. Glue the forms together in the shape of a cat (as shown in the picture).
5. Draw a mouth and nose with a marker, and glue (or draw also) the eyes on the face of the cat.
6. Cut a hat from the black paper (template here) and glue it on the cat’s head.
7. Cut boots from brown paper (template here).
8. Glue the boots on the cat’s feet y display finished product somewhere in your house!

Try using these Spanish phrases to talk about your projects!

El gato tiene dos botas.
ehl GAH-toh tee-EH-nay dohs BOH-tahs
The cat has two boots.
Las botas son cafés.
lahs BOH-tahs sohn cah-FAYS
The boots are brown.
¿Quieres poner el sombrero?
kee-EHR-ays poh-NEHR ehl sohm-BREHR-oh
Do you want to wear the hat?
Tengo un sombrero negro.
TAYN-goh oohn sohm-BREHR-oh NAY-groh
I have a black hat.
El sombrero es negro.
ehl sohm-BREHR-oh ehs NAY-groh
The hat is black.
El gato es anaranjado.
ehl GAH-toh ehs ah-nah-rahn-HAH-doh
The cat is orange.
El sombrero tiene una pluma blanca.
ehl sohm-BREHR-oh tee-EH-nay OOHN-ah PLOO-mah BLAHN-kah
The hat has a white feather.
Kali Carollo


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