Las puertas retorcidas (The Twisted Doors): The Scariest Way in the World to Learn and Listen to Spanish!

This is certainly the scariest way to learn Spanish and it is also a fun way. The book takes you through a scary story of adventurous children in a scary house, which has many large wooden doors which present challenges. This in itself makes it fun. It also gives it a feeling of structure and makes the student want to continue to find out what happens. What makes it a challenge is that you can’t just go on, you have to answer questions and get them right before you can move on; yet another great tactic to get students to learn and enjoy it. The use of wide ranging vocabulary means that it is a good opportunity to pick up plenty of vocabulary, but with the line by line translations it is not a problem if you find it a lot at once. The format is well thought out with pages especially for notes in each chapter, always useful for when you come to look through the book again. Also there is a useful glossary at the back of the book to look up vocabulary.

What really makes this book work is the interconnection between the stories and the chapters and tests. The challenge is linguistic, but it feels like a game or a puzzle, something more fun than conventional learning. However, it did strike me that there is an emphasis on thorough learning, which is a crucial aspect of language learning.

There is a CD which comes with this book, which helps anyone learning on their own. You can listen to the stories being read out in each chapter, which brings the book to life and also demonstrates how it should be pronounced. (The recording is in South American Spanish).

All in all, this is a unique idea for learning, because it is plot driven, which makes it exciting. Originally it was conceived of in French, but I think this is a great Spanish version of the book, and I would recommend it to learners who want something less conventional, or especially for younger learners who find the standard books boring and hard to concentrate on. Learning doesn’t have to be boring and this book proves that!