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.

火車快跑 Book Review


Title: 火車快跑 (huo3 che kuai4 pao3)/Freight Train

ISBN: 9573212404

Authors: Donald Crews (著/唐諾 克魯斯,譯:劉思源)

Publisher: 遠流出版事業股份有限公司

Level: Beginning Reader, Zhuyin, Picture Book, Fiction

Summary: This book is a Chinese translation of Freight Train by Donald Crews. First, we read about all the different types of railroad cars on the train. They are also listed by color. Then we follow the train as it makes its journey across the rails and goes faster and faster. 

Sample Pages: 





Rating: 5/5 stars

5 Minute Review: This book is super easy and fun to read. Gamera (5yo) read it very quickly and loved the pictures and story. It helped that both Gamera and Cookie Monster (7yo) heard this story often when they were attending Chinese preschool. 

Gamera recognized most of the words and the ones she didn’t (or forgot), she sounded out easily with zhuyin. In fact, I am pleased with how well she did – even though I know it is a simple and easy to read book. 

Plus, the illustrations are beautiful and dreamy and I find them to be my favorite part. 

Highly recommend. 

Below is a video of Gamera reading an excerpt from 火車快跑 (huo3 che kuai4 pao3)/Freight Train.

蓮花 Book Review

Title: 蓮花 (lian2 hua)/Lotus Flower 

ISBN: 9789861614700

Authors: 信誼基金出版社

Publisher: 信誼

Level: Beginning Reader, Zhuyin, Picture Book, Non-Fiction, Science

Summary: This book discusses the lotus flower’s life cycle and uses. 

Sample Pages: These were suggested by Cookie Monster (7yo) because they were his favorite pages of the book. He liked the seed pods (he thinks they’re cool) and the lotus roots (again, thinks the shapes are cool).





Rating: 3/5 stars

5 Minute Review: Other than an occasional difficult vocabulary word, this text was clear and easy to read and understand. 

The pictures are vibrant and the text informative. Cookie Monster found it reasonably interesting and read through the book very quickly. 

Despite me having to look up plant specific terms and a few phrases, the terms were easy to explain and understand. 

I didn’t realize Chinese folks ate so much of the lotus plant – that it was more than just pretty. In fact, there can be 2-3 harvests! (Flowers, seeds, and roots.)

Below is a video of Cookie Monster reading an excerpt from 蓮花 (lian2 hua)/Lotus Flower. 

海豚 Book Review

Title: 海豚 (hai3 tun2)/Dolphins

ISBN: 9779861615189

Author/Photographer: 作者/信誼基金出版社丶黑潮海洋文教基金會

Publisher: 信誼

Level: Non-Fiction, Science, Chinese Picture Book, Beginning Reader, Zhuyin

Summary: This book tells us all about dolphins. Where do they live? What kinds of dolphins are there? What do they eat? How do they communicate? Lots of pictures.

Sample Pages:


Rating: 5/5 stars

5 Minute Review: Cookie Monster (7) enjoyed this book a lot. He loved all the facts and the mostly simple language. I was very pleased with the simple language because sometimes the science vocabulary is over my head let alone Cookie Monster’s.

He loved all the pictures, the multitude of science facts, and all the new things he learned about dolphins. All of which he promptly regurgitated as he told Gamera (5) all about the book and what he learned.

He even exclaimed at the end that he really liked the book because it was easy to read as well as interesting. It helped that I supplemented with videos of a live dolphin birth as well as with videos of dolphins playing.

Highly recommend.

Below is a video of Cookie Monster reading an excerpt of the book. Also, a video I found of a live dolphin birth. Cookie Monster made me replay a few times. Then he made Gamera and Glow Worm watch. In the name of science.

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.

好吃的水果 Book Review

Title: 好吃的水果 (hao3 chi de5 shui3 guo3)/Tasty Fruit

ISBN: 9789861614502

Authors/Photographs: 信誼基金出版社

Publisher: 信誼

Level: Beginning Reader, Zhuyin, Picture Book, Non-Fiction, Science

Summary: Introduces some fruits and discusses what they look like on the outside, the type of seeds they have, as well as what they taste like. They also ask kids to identify a fruit based solely on a picture of a cross section.

Sample Pages: 

Rating: 4/5 stars

5 Minute Review: Surprisingly, Cookie Monster (7) really enjoyed this book. Again, the book is informative and has many helpful pictures.

Definitely, the most fun part was trying to identify each fruit from a picture of its cross section. Cookie Monster found that a lot of fun.

As with the vegetable book, the fruits are mostly Taiwanese and some of them were definitely unfamiliar to Cookie Monster. However, because he already knew many names of fruits, this was a very quick and easy read.

And because it was an easy and quick read with very little strange vocabulary (well, other than one word I had never heard of that you can see in the video), it was very favorably received.

Here is a video of Cookie Monster reading an excerpt from the book. (You can also see how easily I get annoyed. I am truly an impatient teacher. Poor kiddos.)


 

四季好蔬菜: Book Review


Title: 四季好蔬菜 (si4 ji4 hai3 su cai4)/Vegetables of the Four Seasons

ISBN: 9789861615233

Authors/Photographs: 文/信誼基金出版社,照片/永豐餘生技丶達志影像

Publisher: 信宜

Level: Beginning Reader, Zhuyin, Picture Book, Non-Fiction, Science

Summary: Introduces some vegetables that grow in every season. Has lots of pictures.

Sample Pages:

Rating: 3/5 stars

5 Minute Review: Well, it is about vegetables. So I wouldn’t say it was very interesting except in an, “Oh, hey. Vegetables,” kind of way.

It certainly is informative. And I suppose Cookie Monster (7) didn’t mind learning and seeing pictures of vegetables he has eaten (and many more he has not).

These are definitely Taiwanese and Chinese vegetables so I guess it is also cultural learning. But again: vegetables. In all four seasons.

To be fair, the book does offer random facts and Cookie Monster enjoyed those. But for the most part, he struggled over the vegetable names because he wasn’t familiar with them and he was very wiggly and antsy.

I am pretty sure this one book took over a week to read because we kept getting distracted and we were both sooooo bored.

No video because I think we both would rather suck on a fork than read this again. But, um, it was useful to learn and go through.