屁屁超人 Book Review

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Title: 屁屁超人 (pi4 pi4 chao ren2)/The Fart Superhero

ISBN: 9789866759116

Author: 林哲璋

Publisher: 親子天下

Level: Beginning Reader, Zhuyin, Fiction, Chapter book

Summary: Book 2 of the Reading123 Set.

Three short stories/chapters of the Fart Superhero. A little boy goes to a superhero school and his super power is farting so much that it makes him fly. The first story tells of a mean superintendent and their eventual duel. The second tells of a new kid who has a unique power of his own. And the third chapter tells us what happens when the two boys are shot with a “Swearing Arrow.”

Sample Pages:

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

5 Minute Book Review: I am so happy for this book because honestly, I was a little worried that Cookie Monster (~8) was going to throw in the towel on longer chapter books before he even really started. We had tried Book 1 in the Reading123 set but it had too many terms he didn’t understand. (It was about dragons and knights.)

This book, however, is set in modern times and in a school – so all things Cookie Monster is familiar with. Plus, the kid’s superpower comes from his farts. WHAT IS NOT TO LIKE?

Cookie Monster laughed out loud several times. He thought it was just ridiculous and hilarious. I made him read out loud to me because he was very intimidated by the chapter book and he felt safer and more comfortable reading out loud to me versus reading silently to himself.

I had him tackle a chapter a day (so it took three days) to build up his confidence and I’m sure after a few more times breaking down the books this way, he will be reading these by himself in no time.

We just may skip to Book 14 for the sequel to this book.

Highly recommend.

Here’s a video of him doing a cold reading of an excerpt from the book.

Did you know I wrote a book on how to teach your kids Chinese? You can get it on Amazon (affiliate link) and it’s conveniently titled, So You Want Your Kid to Learn Chinese.

It’s full of practical advice, detailed applications, and heavy amounts of snark. Find most of the answers to your questions about how you can help your kids learn and speak Chinese (as well as read).

Chinese Books for Babies

**This post was sponsored by Jessica Kingsley Publishers. I also received a review copy of Chinese Symbols for Baby Brains, as well as a review copy of Tai Ji Dancing for Kids. As usual, all opinions and thoughts are my own. This post includes Amazon affiliate links.

People always ask me what books they should read to their babies to help them learn Chinese. I find this question amusing on my best days and eye-rolling on my worst.

Look, I get it.

We want our kids to learn Chinese. We want them to read and speak and all of it fluently.

But it’s not going to happen by reading the perfect Chinese book.

However, research does show that reading to our babies is good for developing their listening skills and helping them recognize shapes and colors. Listening is important for learning language and the sounds attached to a particular language. Other studies show that babies are most attracted to high contrast colors like black, white, and red.

All this to say that while reading Chinese books won’t automatically make your child fluent in Chinese, it’s good for brain development and even provides extra snuggle and cuddle time. (Assuming your baby doesn’t eat the book like my children were wont to do.)

I have to confess something, though. The only child out of my four kids that I actively read to every single day as a baby was Cookie Monster (~8). Is it any surprise that he’s my first?

My other children were lucky if they ever got me to read them a book at all. You can imagine my guilt (however minor) about Sasquatch (1) in regards to the not reading and the not reading in Chinese.

Recently, I was approached by our sponsors to check out their latest book, Chinese Symbols for Baby Brains by Chungliang Al Huang with Lark Huang-Storms. This book uses high contrast Chinese calligraphy designed to stimulate a baby’s developing retina and brain. Huang is a highly regarded authority of Tai Ji, Taoism, and related disciplines. He is a best-selling author of books on mind/body/spirit integration and an artist and performer.

Honestly, I was fully expecting to be underwhelmed because I’m a cynic and baby books are usually boring to me. I went online using Amazon’s sneak peak function and skimmed the previews to make sure this was a book I wanted to own. (I tend not to review things that I don’t like because it seems rude to accept products and then hate them online.)

I was immediately struck by Huang’s beautiful calligraphy.

I decided then and there to review the book. After all, I love Chinese calligraphy and I particularly love any images that show me the pictures within the Chinese characters.

So, we’ve established that I loved the book and the illustrations. What about my kids?

Well, I can’t speak to whether or not Sasquatch’s developing retina was stimulated, but I can say he loved looking through the Chinese Symbols for Baby Brains.

On the few occasions I’ve tried to read to Sasquatch, mostly because I was already reading to Glow Worm (4), the baby was unimpressed and fidgety and would try to grab my book and destroy them.

When I sat down with Sasquatch to read Chinese Symbols for Baby Brainshe actually stared at the pictures and pointed at them and flipped the pages! (Incidentally, it’s a board book so there’s the added bonus of me not having to worry that Sasquatch would immediately ruin the book.)

Sasquatch trying to steal Chinese Symbols for Baby Brains from Glow Worm

In fact, when Sasquatch saw Glow Worm with the book later that same day, he waddled over and tried to steal the book! Glow Worm liked to look at the pictures, too so he refused to let his little brother take it.

I can’t believe they fought over a book. Wait. I can. Sasquatch constantly has FOMO and wants to have whatever his siblings have.

What I didn’t expect was how interested Cookie Monster and Gamera (6) were in the book, too. They enjoyed trying to read the characters and delighted when they got it right. Plus, they really wanted to read the book to Sasquatch so I ended up not having to read to my baby after all. BONUS!

My one quibble with the book is that the pronunciation key at the end of the book doesn’t include tones with their pinyin. That might not be a big deal folks who are literate in Chinese, but for those of us who are not, it would have been a great help.

Is your baby going to be able to read Chinese characters just from this book?

No. Of course, not.

But no one expects their babies to learn how to read English from ABC board books, either.

Will their retinas be stimulated and their brains be forced to develop? Probably.

But most importantly, Chinese Symbols for Baby Brains is that rare find in a baby board book. It’s both art and educational.

I highly recommend Chinese Symbols for Baby Brains for art-loving babies, families who want to introduce their babies to Chinese, and any family with a new baby. This book is beautiful and I would love for any of the pages to be framed prints in my house.

I’ve included some pertinent details, pictures, and video below.

Title: Chinese Symbols for Baby Brains

Where to Buy: Amazon or Jessica Kingsley Publishers

Sample Pages:

Here’s the video of Sasquatch and Gamera going through the book.

And since I mentioned Huang’s other book, Tai Ji Dancing for Kids, here are some pictures of that book as well.


蠟筆小黑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: 蠟筆小黑 (La4 bi3 xiao3 hei)/The Little Black Crayon

ISBN: 9789862168820

Author/Illustrator: 中屋美和

Publisher: 小天下

Level: Beginning Reader, Zhuyin, Fiction, Picture book

Summary: This is a Chinese translation of a Japanese series.

A little black crayon is sad because all the other colors are drawing and won’t let him contribute. But when the other crayons get in an argument, Mr. Mechanical Pencil comes up with a solution that has the little black crayon coming to the rescue.

Sample Pages:


Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

5 Minute Review: Glow Worm (4) loves this book. (He loves this whole series.) The plot has a great moral, the crayons are super cute, and the illustrations are imaginative and delightful.

I got this book last summer but only finally took it out in August (because I’m lazy, ok?) and so my older two kids never saw it until recently. They both seemed interested and Gamera (~6) even read it by herself. Cookie Monster (~8) was lazy and just glanced at the pictures, but he did enjoy listening to me read the book to Glow Worm.

Personally, I enjoyed the book and the illustrations and I was happy to read it several times to Glow Worm.

I highly recommend the book and the whole three book series.