小蛇散步 Book Review

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Title: 小蛇散步 (xiao3 she2 san4 bu4)/The Little Snake Takes a Walk

ISBN: 9789867188243, 9789862116043

Author: 伊東寬

Publisher: 小魯寶寶書

Level: Beginning Reader, Zhuyin, Fiction

Summary: A little snake goes out for a walk and encounters a puddle. As he is about to leave, he ends up helping a bunch of new friends cross the puddle as well.

Sample Pages:

Ratings: 5 out of 5 stars

5 Minute Review: My kids LOVE this book. They first saw it in their Chinese preschool teacher’s house and when we went back for Taiwan Trip 2014, they saw it at Eslite and begged me to buy it. So, I did.

Be forewarned. ONLY THE NARRATIVE HAS ZHUYIN.

Imagine my surprise when I finally brought it home to read it to my kids only to see that the comic portion with the handwritten font DOES NOT have zhuyin.

Let’s just say that at the time, my Chinese was not good enough to read those parts without frantically looking up characters in Pleco. However, having read this book so many times, I now don’t need to anymore. (Or as much.)

I can’t remember if my kids have tried to read this book on their own, but they do enjoy this picture book a lot because it’s funny, silly, and has lots of fun sounds and illustrations.

Super cute. Highly recommend.

Hunger: Book Review

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Title: Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body

Author: Roxane Gay

Publisher: Harper

Genre/Category: Memoir, POC Author, WOC Author

Summary: Gay writes a brutally honest memoir of her body, of her eating, of her weight, of her inability to lose her weight, of why she gained the weight, and of so many other things that are not related to weight or food but are equally and perhaps moreso about hunger.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

5 Minute Review: So achingly sad. Hunger is aptly named.

You feel Gay’s ferocious hunger – both literal and metaphorical.

My heart breaks for her. I sympathize in my limited capacity. I am grateful for her opening wide so we can glimpse her hunger and brokenness.

Gay’s writing is haunting, melancholic, and deep. Her writing is the kind that cracks me wide open and all sorts of feelings leak out. Feelings that I have been shoving down, trying to bury, trying to forget, trying to unthink or unfeel.

Her book reminds me of all the things that I hunger for, the things that I want and desperately desire, and then try to fill with completely inappropriate or inadequate things.

I had to space out the reading of this book because it is too raw. Too painful. Too brilliant.

She writes in a way that I want to write. Gay reminds me of the best of Radiohead or Tori Amos.

She is luminous.

Utterly fantastic.

青蛙撲通跳 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: 青蛙撲通跳 (qing wa pu tong tiao4)/The Frog Jumps

ISBN: 9789861612430

Author: 李紫蓉

Publisher: 信誼

Level: Beginning Reader, Zhuyin, Fiction

Summary: Another bunch of short poems/rhymes about nature.

Sample Pages:

Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

5 Minute Review: Though the illustrations are quite beautiful, neither Cookie Monster (6.5 at time of reading) nor Gamera (5.75) liked this book much, either.

Again, it’s because it is a bunch of short poems about nature and my kids are somewhat MEH about poems that are not longer, involved stories. In fact, Gamera was so bored that it took her over 4-5 days to read this book even though clearly, it’s not long and doesn’t require that many days to get through.

Come to think of it, the hardest part actually is that the characters are in a handwritten font so it’s not as easy for children to decipher what the character is. On top of that, the zhuyin is also handwritten. That is what both my kids objected to the most.

Here is a quick video of Gamera reading an excerpt of this book.