地下100層樓 Book Review


Like my reviews? Want more tips and advice on how to teach your kids Chinese? Want someone to just give you an Action Plan that you can follow? Check out my book (affiliate link), So You Want Your Kid to Learn Chinese.

Title: 地下100層樓的家 (di4 xia4 yi bai3 ceng2 lou2 de5 jia)/Underground 100 Stories

ISBN: 9789862111642

Author/Illustrator: 岩井俊雄

Translator: 周佩頴

Publisher: 小魯文化事業股份有限公司 (Hsiao Lu Publishing Co. LTD., 2010)

Level: Beginning Reader, Picture Book, Fiction

Summary: A little girl follows an animal down a hole and goes a hundred stories underground. Each level is populated by different animals and creatures as she goes all the way down to the bottom.

Sample Pages:






Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

5 Minute Review: Again, this book is full of fun, extremely detailed illustrations that all my kids love to flip through and look at (even if they are not necessarily reading). Because the book is going down underground, it flips downward (which is my only complaint because it makes me motion sick because having a child hold the book while you attempt to read it is nausea-inducing).

Lots of fun layers underground and lots of fun animals to see. The vocabulary is easy enough to guesd if you are unfamiliar with the characters but I wish it had zhuyin. 

No video this week because otherwise you will see just how bad my Chinese is. 

100層樓的家 Book Review

Like my reviews? Want more tips and advice on how to teach your kids Chinese? Want someone to just give you an Action Plan that you can follow? Check out my book (affiliate link), So You Want Your Kid to Learn Chinese.
Title: 100層樓的家 (yi bai3 ceng2 lou2 de5 jia)/The 100 Story House

ISBN: 9789862110850

Author/Illustrator: 岩井俊雄

Translator: 周佩頴

Publisher: 小魯文化事業股份有限公司  (Hsiao Lu Publishing Co. LTD., 2010)

Level: Beginning Reader, Picture Book, Fiction

Summary: A boy who wants to look at the stars is invited by someone to go to the top floor of a 100 story building. The book follows him as he climbs up 100 stories and you see who lives on each floor as he climbs to the top.

Sample Pages:






Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

5 Minute Review: Despite it being a bit hard for me to read to my children due to my mediocre Chinese skills (and the book’s lack of zhuyin), my children really love to flip through the book and look at all the illustrations.

Cookie Monster (7.5) and Gamera (5.5) can read most of the content and trip over a character here and there (just like me – I don’t know whether to be proud of them or sad about myself). There really isn’t too much story or plot – just a lot of awesome pictures.

One cool thing about this book is that because it’s about a boy climbing UP a 100 story building, you also experience the book that way by flipping UP through the book to read it.

Here is a video of Glow Worm (3.75) flipping through the pages and telling himself the story.

拜託,熊貓先生 Book Review


Like my reviews? Want more tips and advice on how to teach your kids Chinese? Want someone to just give you an Action Plan that you can follow? Check out my book (affiliate link), So You Want Your Kid to Learn Chinese.

Title: 拜託,熊貓先生 (bai4 tuo, xiong2 mao xian sheng)/Please, Mr. Panda

ISBN: 9789862742334

Author/Illustrator: 史蒂夫 安東尼

Translator: 劉清彥

Publisher: 青林國際出版

Level: Beginning Reader, Zhuyin, Picture Book, Fiction

Summary: Mr. Panda asks his friends if they want donuts but they keep changing their minds.

Sample Pages:






Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

5 Minute Book Review: As with the other Mr. Panda book, Gamera (5.5) is also willing to read this book because of the cuteness of the illustrations. And again, Glow Worm (3.75) always brings this book out because he loves the illustrations (but no one reads with him). Poor neglected child.

Here is a video of Gamera reading an excerpt from the book.

Commence Panic Mode


I am not excited. 

We are T-9 days from our Taiwan Trip 2017 and I am not excited. 

I mean, I am excited for all the yummy foods and hanging out with my mommy friends in Taiwan, but… I am not excited about packing or traveling at very fast speeds in a metal tube with my four children for 12-13 hours. 

At this point last year, I think I already started packing. I have not even bothered. Or tried. Or felt bad about it. 

I don’t know if this means I have evolved or I am super procrastinating. Maybe both. 

Does it count if I made my packing list about two months ago? And have been Amazon Priming like a BOSS?

But truthfully, I bought most of the stuff last year and I don’t really need anything else other than more bug spray/sunscreen combos. 

And diapers. Lots of diapers. 

But otherwise, my kids are going to the same camps (actually, one less camp so it’s even easier), we are staying at the same Airbnb, and my mother is coming with me for a few days and my cousin is flying back with me so really, what is there to worry about?

Then why is there a nervous ball of dread in the pit of my stomach? Why am I purposely avoiding thinking about this trip for fear of totally freaking out?

I have taken my kids to Taiwan before. By myself (and with friends and family). I have sent my kids to school there before. I have used buses and taxis and MRTs before. I have even ergoed a baby there before. 

I can do this. 

It will be fun. (Mostly.)

I will eat lots of delicious food. (Especially almond tofu shaved ice.)

I will see my friends. 

I will see my family. 

I will have a constant sweaty front because of Big Fat Baby Sasquatch permanently being worn. 

I will not be pregnant. (Thank goodness for small mercies.)

I will be fine. 

My kids will be even bigger and they remember stuff from last year so they are prepared. 

We will be fine. 

I have to keep repeating this to myself like a spell. 

I will be fine. I will be fine. 

And if I am really delusional, maybe I will be so fine I will consider bringing a toddler to Taiwan next summer. 

I guess I should see how things shake out this summer before I do anything that stupid. 

熊貓先生,我願意等 Book Review


Like my reviews? Want more tips and advice on how to teach your kids Chinese? Want someone to just give you an Action Plan that you can follow? Check out my book (affiliate link), So You Want Your Kid to Learn Chinese.

Title: 熊貓先生,我願意等 (xiong2 mao xian sheng, wo3 yuan4 yi4 deng3)/Mr. Panda, I’m Willing to Wait

ISBN: 9789862741870

Author/Illustrator: 史蒂夫 安東尼

Translator: 劉清彥

Publisher: 青林國際出版

Level: Beginning Reader, Zhuyin, Picture Book, Fiction

Summary: Several animals ask Mr. Panda what he is doing. He says to wait because it’s a surprise. Animal after animal is unwilling to wait, but the penguin is willing to wait.

Sample Pages:





Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

5 Minute Book Review: Gamera (5.5) is willing to read this book so it must be easy and have super cute illustrations. (It is and it does.) Cookie Monster (7.5) likes this book, too. And, of course, Glow Worm (3.75) always brings this book out for someone to read him (but no one does because I am a neglectful mother).

The pictures are super cute and the content incredibly easy. The plot is also very silly and easy. Super fun.

Here is a video of Gamera reading an excerpt from the book.

Reader Mail: Why Don’t I Like KDramas?

In an effort to be more engaging with my readers (and really, it’s just a handy excuse to talk evermore of my favorite subject – MYSELF), I have opened up the inbox to take questions.

So, NOW IS THE TIME TO ASK ME YOUR DEEP, BURNING QUESTIONS. (Yes, it is likely a UTI. Or an STI. You should get that checked out.)

Anyhow, Guavarama wants to know why I do not watch K Dramas (Korean dramas).

The answer is many fold and totally a strange amalgam of preference, laziness, and ignorance.

So then, here is more than you ever cared to know about why I do not watch K Dramas despite me having an incredibly addictive personality.

1) I cannot handle having one more thing to be obsessed about. 

Seriously. I wish the answer were more complex or subtle, but this is the main reason I have never started, nor have any desire to start, watching K Dramas.

I simply do not have the bandwidth.

I obsess over things so easily. And then it takes over my life. And then I am overwhelmed with all the things that I need to watch and hunt down and I am a completist so I would not be satisfied with watching only one or two episodes they’re like Pokemon I GOTTA CATCH THEM ALL.

I’m exhausted just writing this paragraph and thinking of all the work I would have to do in order to hunt down free versions of these episodes and all the new apps I would have to install and then to find time to watch these episodes!!!

GAAAAAAAAH!!

2) In general, I try not to watch any shows that are serial. 

Again, for the same reasons as above. I am a completist. I have to watch everything in order. And I want to binge. But I can’t because part of my self-care routine (and for love of my children) is to go to sleep at a relatively early hour and get enough sleep so I don’t scream at my children the next day.

THINK OF THE CHILDREN.

There is a reason that the majority of my DVR queue is full of episodic shows wherein you don’t have to watch EVERY SINGLE SHOW (although I do).

A few years ago, I simply decided that short of the serials I currently watched, I was not allowed to add any more without dropping one. And as my serials have gradually ended, I have not added anymore – despite knowing full well there are plenty of awesome shows out there.

My main exceptions to this are SHORT serials. So, Legion was perfect because there were only six episodes. Into the Badlands was perfect because again, abbreviated seasons. Now that Season 2 just finished, I STILL haven’t watched them because the sheer thought of watching 10 episodes is overwhelming.

I still have the last ten episodes of The Vampire Diaries in my DVR that I haven’t watched because every time I start, I have to watch 3-4 and next thing I know, it’s 2am and I AM SO TIRED.

Have I mentioned that I still have Roots in my DVR that I never watched but can’t bring myself to delete? That was LAST SUMMER.

3) I don’t want to read while watching the show on a small screen.

Yes, yes, yes. There are many ways to get around the watching of the small screen. I, in fact, own almost all of those options.

IT DOESN’T MATTER.

The main hindrance is that I do not understand Korean and I would have to pay close attention otherwise have no clue what was going on.

I multi-task when watching TV/shows. I am usually texting (which is difficult to do if I’m watching the KDrama ON MY PHONE), Facebooking, reading, watching my kids, and sometimes writing.

I CANNOT DO THAT IF I AM TRYING TO READ.

4) It is difficult for me to obsess over actors who look like children.

Yes, I know they are very attractive. (My friends lust over SJK.) But you know what? I am unable to find anyone who looks under 35 attractive. I realize, IN MY BRAIN, that they are undeniable good-looking. But my loins, where I make most of my decisions, DO NOT.

My loins reject them BECAUSE THE ACTORS ARE CHILDREN.

MY LOINS DO NOT LUST OVER CHILDREN.

5) I avoid shows that would make me cry or feel emotions.

People, I cry at commercials. Or thinking about fat babies.

I also would like to continue to think that I am a hardened sophisticate so NO SWOOPY ROMANCES FULL OF ANGST PLEASE.

(Unless it features Ian Somerhalder as Damon Salvatore because Helloooooo, Nurse!)

I also do not watch This Is Us despite knowing 100% sure that I would love it based on the trailers alone. I JUST CANNOT EMOTIONALLY HANDLE IT.

So, there you have it.

I know. I am an emotionally inert human. We can still remain friends though, right?

 

 

 

 

Don’t Believe What You Read on the Internet


I have a confession to make.

I know I’m all RAH RAH about making my kids speak Chinese all their applicable waking hours. Shoot, I even wrote a book on the subject (affiliate link). And after the thousands of words I’ve written about my kids and our learning Chinese endeavors, etc. ad nauseammy children still prefer to speak English.

In fact, they would speak English all day if I let them.

The constant refrains at my house are, “說中文!” (shuo zhong wen2/Speak Chinese!) or “聽不懂!” (ting bu2 dong3/I don’t understand!)

And then, sometimes in moments of exasperation, I threaten ridiculous things such as taking away all their toys, forcing them to only watch Chinese YouTube, or taking away all English screen time.

I have even threatened them to not be able to play with each other (since all they speak is English – EVEN TO THE BABY).

It drives me up the wall.

I am exasperated and frustrated and feel like a failure and a hypocrite.

In my moments of angst, I see all the thousands of dollars I’ve spent on Chinese swirling to the bottom of the toilet as it flushes into the sewage system.
And then, if I happen to be on Facebook, I will catch glimpses of other bilingual mothers posting pics or videos or posts about their awesome kids reading super hard/advanced Chinese books and I’m like, CRAP ON A STICK.

Now, keep in mind, I LIVE on Facebook. I understand that what happens on Facebook is heavily curated, capturing only the best (or most comically horrible) moments in a life. After all, I am a Master Facebooker (though a bit more TMI than most).

So I GET IT. Facebook is not Reality.

But sometimes, just sometimes, I see these flashes of other brilliantly bilingual kids and instead of seeing them as inspiration or future possible versions of my children in some ideal world, I instead see judgment, failure, and an impossible obstacle.

After all, I am sooooooo lazy. And my Chinese, though pretty good, is going to be tapping out. Soon. Like, REALLY SOON.

WHAT AM I GOING TO DO WITH ALL THESE HIGHER LEVEL CHINESE BOOKS IN MY HOUSE???

Here’s the thing.

It doesn’t matter how good the other kids’ Chinese are. 

In fact, short of having actual conversations with these children (assuming your Chinese is good and advanced enough to do this), you really will never know their “true” level – which, incidentally, is meaningless and likely fluctuates on a given day and subject matter.

What you are seeing on the internet is just a slice of time. A teeny, tiny, fractional instant of a REALLY REALLY REALLY long day.

Chinese is not mastered in a day. Or even a week.

So don’t worry. Chill out.

Get off of Facebook. Get off my blog (although, do buy my book) and be happy with what you’ve managed to accomplish.

Whatever you are doing (or not doing) will not doom your child forever to a life of sad monolingualism (is that even a word?). Life is long and unexpected; the time to learn Chinese is both too short and a lifetime’s worth.

You are NOT a failure.

Your children are perfect.

It will be ok.