小黃點 Book Review


Title: 小黃點 (xiao3 huang2 dian3)/Mix It Up!

ISBN: 9789577625038

Author/Illustrator: Hervé Tullet

Publisher: 上誼

Level: Chinese Picture Book, Fiction

Summary: Follow the instructions and see what happens to the Little Yellow Dot! Press the dot, shake the book, and blow on the pages.

Sample Pages:





Rating: 5/5 stars

5 Minute Review: This book is hands down, my children’s favorite of the bunch. It definitely is Glow Worm’s (3.5) favorite. He never gets tired of this book and doesn’t exactly follow the directions, but he loves to hit every single dot and count all the dots of each color. It can be mindnumbingly dull when he does this. But hey. He’s 3.5.

He also enjoys pointing out all the characters he recognizes so that’s fun, too. Like the other books in the series, there is no zhuyin and some of the characters are unfamiliar to me and despite me looking them up a bjillion times, I forget them just as quickly.

Such is the consequence of having an older brain.

At least it’s pretty easy to figure out what they are saying from context and it’s ok with me to just guesstimate. Perhaps not the best for increasing literacy, but laziness wins.

 

Highly recommend.

Below is a video of me reading the book to Glow Worm.

兩隻老虎歡樂歌謠 Book/CD Review

Title: 兩隻老虎歡樂歌謠 (liang3 zhi lao2 hu3 huan le4 ge yao2)/Two Little Tigers Songs

Producer: 風車圖書出版 (Windmill)

Level: Children’s songs, zhuyin

Summary: A collection of 40+ children’s songs. Some are translations of English children’s songs. Some are Chinese/Taiwanese children’s songs.

Sample Pictures:

Rating: 5/5 stars

5 Minute Review: My kids love this CD set. In fact, most people I know own this set because it was featured on AsianParent.com and is easily accessible.

The best part is that they include lyrics with zhuyin for every featured song. I find this super helpful because just because you hear the song doesn’t mean you actually have the right lyrics. I have trouble identifying lyrics correctly in English – let alone Chinese.

Anyhow, this is all just to say that it’s useful to have the lyrics in Chinese with zhuyin because I am semi-illiterate and this helps. They also have fun illustrations.

Highly recommend.

Here are three videos of Gamera singing some songs from the book.

 

彩色點點 Book Review


Title: 彩色點點 (cai3 se4 dian3 dian3)/Mix It Up!

ISBN: 9789577625298

Author/Illustrator: Hervé Tullet

Publisher: 上誼

Level: Chinese Picture Book, Fiction

Summary: Gives instructions to the reader (eg: trace the line, find the dot, press the dot, etc) and goes on an “adventure” with the reader in tow. Very interactive.

Sample Pages:



Rating: 5/5 stars

5 Minute Review: All my children love Tullet’s books and this one is no exception. Cookie Monster (7) and Gamera (5) can read most of the characters (there is no zhuyin) and so can I. I still have to look up the occasional character, but mostly, I can guess them from context.

Again, it is Glow Worm (3.5) who LOVES this book (much like he loves the other two in the series).

The illustrations are fun and interactive and teach a lot about color mixing. I don’t know if Glow Worm understands half of it, but he loves screaming out the colors and my other two kids love the “mixing” and “magic” of the series.

Highly recommend.

早起的一天 Book Review


Title: 早起的一天 (zao3 qi3 de5 yi tian)/The Day We Woke Up Early

ISBN: 9789867942012

Author/Illustrator: 賴馬

Publisher: 和英文化

Level: Chinese Picture Book, Beginning Reader, Fiction, Zhuyin, comes with CD

Summary: A young pig gets up early in the morning to help his grandmother buy and prepare things for his grandfather’s birthday. They go to the market, ride a taxi, and visit various family members at their work.

Sample Pages:

Rating: 5/5 stars

5 Minute Review: As always, Lai Ma’s books are visually interesting and fun. All my children enjoy studying the illustrations which reward repeat study.

Because this book comes with a CD, I will fully admit that my children have listened to the CD in the car at least several hundred times since Summer 2014 before they ever “read” the book.

However, the language is simple, there isn’t a lot of text, and the story is fun enough. Gamera (5) and Cookie Monster (7) both can read it easily enough and the characters they don’t recognize, they can just try the zhuyin.

This is one of Ma’s easier to read picture books and even I can read with relatively little assistance from zhuyin.

Here is a video of Gamera reading an excerpt.

小黃點大冒險 Book Review


Title: 小黃點大冒險 (xiao3 huang2 dian3 da4 mao4 xian3)/Let’s Play

ISBN: 9789577625861

Author/Illustrator: Hervé Tullet

Publisher: 上誼

Level: Chinese Picture Book, Fiction

Summary: The Little Yellow Dot is bored and wants to play. Gives instructions to the reader (eg: trace the line, find the dot, press the dot, etc) and goes on an “adventure” with the reader in tow. Very interactive.

Sample Pages:


Rating: 5/5 stars

5 Minute Review: All my children love this book. Cookie Monster (7) and Gamera (5) can read most of the characters (there is no zhuyin) and so can I. We only have to look up a character every now and then.

However, the one who loves this book (and its two other books in Tullet’s series) is Glow Worm (3.5).

I cannot overemphasize just HOW MUCH Glow Worm loves these books. I don’t even think he cares about the “plot” or story. All he wants is to press the dot and follow and trace the line.

He LOVES this book. LOVES.

I find the pictures fun and playful. The story is cute and interactive. Plus, I learned a few new characters.

Highly recommend.

Here are two videos of Glow Worm using the book. He doesn’t really follow directions or care about hearing the story (he obviously cannot read it). He just wants to play – which I guess is what the book is about anyway.

 

品德教育閱讀每日10分鍾: Book Review

Title: 品德教育閱讀每日10分鍾 國小一年級 (ping3 de2 jiao4 yu4 yue4 due2 mei3 ri4 shi2 fen zhong guo2 xiao3 yi nian2 ji2)/Moral Character Education 10 Minute Daily Readings for 1st Grade

ISBN: Not applicable

Authors/Illustrations: 資優國語文教研會

Publisher: 光田出版社

Level: Beginning Reader, Zhuyin, Picture Book, Non-Fiction, Textbook, Taiwanese 1st Grade

Pages: 160

Summary: 74 short moral essays/stories that include 5 reading comprehension multiple guess questions (with answer key) as well as an additional idiom section that goes along with each story.

Sample Pages: 

Table of Contents (1)

Table of Contents (2)

Chapter with easier vocabulary (story)

Chapter with easier vocabulary (follow up questions)

Chapter with harder vocabulary (story)

Chapter with easier vocabulary (follow up questions)

Rating: 3/5 stars

5 Minute Review: I really like this workbook. I use it as a textbook to increase Cookie Monster’s (7) reading ability and comprehension. However, keep in mind that I like this workbook like a person likes to take vitamins.

I know it’s good for me, but no one is begging to read this.

The reading material is usually one page and the facing page has comprehension questions as well as additional info on idioms that relate to the story.

Depending on the topic, the stories are sometimes interesting and fun, or informative but perhaps not terribly interesting. Sometimes, Cookie Monster finds the stories fun and the illustrations amusing. Other times, you can tell he is just reading without any understanding.

Either way, the stories are useful for improving zhuyin reading and increasing comprehension. They take Cookie Monster anywhere from 10-30 minutes to go through both pages. If the text is more story related, his reading is much faster and fluid. If there is a lot of formal vocabulary or harder terms (that I have to constantly look up in Pleco), it takes a LOT longer and is somewhat frustrating.

At first, it was hard for him to even understand the concept of multiple choice questions. But after a few days, he got more used to it.

We skip the part on idioms because he only has so much attention span and quite frankly, some of the chapters have me going to Pleco and stretch my comprehension so much (so demoralizing that a first grade text can stymie me) that the thought of also discussing idioms makes me want to bash my head in.

Incidentally, he must be learning something because the other day, I was eating a zhong zi and he said, “Oh! This was in my book!” And flipped the book to the chapter on 端午節 (duan wu3 jie2)/Dragon Boat Festival. Sure enough, there were sketches of zhong zi.

I found this and a bunch of workbooks in a random Chinese stationery store and according to the clerk, this was the brand that was more popular and recommended.

I believe the Kang Xuan books are comparable in content and difficulty level. (Except that they have a CD with mp3s so you cannot just read straight through- hence my buyer’s remorse with KX workbooks.)

At any rate, though we would ideally do a story a day, we are more likely at 1-3 stories a week.

Overall, I am pleased and recommend this if you want to approach zhuyin and Chinese literacy in a more regimented way than reading picture books.

This is not the type of book you buy and go through for fun. I mean, the title is Moral Character Education for crying out loud.

Anyhow, now you know. 🙂

Here is a video of Cookie Monster reading an excerpt from the book. (This is the kind of wiggling I have to deal with. Drives me insane!) Also, I would have included a video of him reading and answering the questions, but I already had to bribe him with Cheetos to let me video this much.

小雞逛遊樂園: Book Review


Title: 小雞逛遊樂園 (xiao3 ji guang4 you2 le4 yuan2)/Baby Chicks at the Forest Park

ISBN: 9789862112793

Authors/Illustrations: Noriko Kudo (translated from Japanese) 文、圖/工藤紀子,翻譯/劉握瑜

Publisher:  小魯文化事業股份有限公司 (Xiao Lu Wen Hua/Tsai Fong Books)

Published: 2012

Level: Beginning Reader, Zhuyin, Picture Book, Fiction

Pages: 36

Summary: The five little chicks go to the amusement park and have a lot of fun going to all the attractions. Then they have a picnic. (Seriously, that’s it.)

Sample Pages:


Rating: 5/5 stars

5 Minute Review: Gamera (5) LOVES the 小雞 (xiao3 ji)/Baby Chick series. Kudo’s adorable illustrations and cute conversations are a big reason.

Gamera will choose one of the five books in the Baby Chick series to read over and over again. She practically has them memorized.

She first heard these stories at her Chinese preschool and despite having heard and read these stories countless times, Gamera just can’t get enough.

Although there is occasionally some harder vocabulary, it is nothing zhuyin doesn’t solve quickly and easily. The storyline is simple and easy to follow.

Mostly, Gamera just loves to look at the illustrations and thinks the baby chicks are the cutest. She also likes to read the occasional Chinese characters within the actual illustrations (these do not have zhuyin).

Incidentally, though Cookie Monster (7) has never chosen these books to read (mostly because we are going through our books very systematically with him), he finds the stories fun and adorable, too. He mostly just hovers nearby when Gamera reads them and he will flip through to see the illustrations. He also heard them at preschool when he was younger.

Highly recommend.

Here’s a video of Gamera reading an excerpt. You can tell she really likes to look at the pictures! (You can also tell I am totally missing the point of picture books.)