Title Ánimo Spanish AS
Author Isabel Alonso De Sudea, Vincent Everett, Isabel Isern Vivancos
Publisher Oxford University Press
ISBN 978-019 915330-5
Reviewer Patrick Le Berre

If we take into account all three methods from OUP for the new AS Levels, Ánimo strikes me as another remarkably thought-out textbook alongside Élan and Einsicht. They are all excellent for the clarity of their layout, the relevance of the topics and themes developed and, last but not least, the clever use of graphics and colours for language learning purposes.

The Ánimo student book starts with ‘Puente’, a useful ‘bridging the gap’ section which concentrates on major grammar reminders from GCSE and geographical and historical facts about Spain without overdoing it. The following chapters address many excellent topics related to Spanish culture such as modern media, Flamenco, La Barraca and Garcia Lorca, Spanish cinema, the emergence of minor celebrities in popular culture which should motivate teenagers and help them enjoy their languages. The final pages offer a clear revise-all section followed by a grammar section. The topics are adapted to all exam boards as they can be supplemented by home grown material, should a teacher decide to develop a theme in more depth. My only criticism would be an absence of Latin American material at the exception of a few passing references, the whole textbook has a very Ibero-centric feel to it. However, the use of colour coded sections is very useful: green for Gramática, blue for Técnica, purple for Frases Clave orange for pronunciation and light green for Recuerda. If we add clear objectives at the beginning of each paragraph and ‘An Escoger’ at the end, we have a very user-friendly teaching method which will promote good language learning practice and the use of formative assessment.

The grammar workbook is, as usual, very well presented and crammed with excellent exercises whilst the teacher book strikes me as very clear and easy to use. The main problem is, as with the other languages, with the Self-Study Guides aimed at particular exam boards. In my opinion, these would need to have much more salient information rather than being a mixture of grammar points, key phrases and odd practise for a particular skill.