小紅嘴鳥的奇幻飛行 Book Review

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Title: 小紅嘴鳥的奇幻飛行 (xiao3 hong2 zui3 niao3 de5 qi2 huan4 fei hang2)/The Red Beak Bird’s Imaginary Flight

ISBN: 9789869292061

Author/Illustrator: Agathe Demois/Vincent Godeau

Publisher: 親子天下

Level: Beginning Reader, Zhuyin, Fiction, Picture book

Summary: Translated from the French original.

Every year, all the birds in the world gather at a special tree to meet. This story follows a bird with a red beak as it flies half way around the world to get to the meeting place. Each page talks about what the bird sees on the way there.

Sample Pages: 

If you notice where the magnifying glass is, the man is naked underneath his clothes and the picture reveals his penis.

This picture reveals the butt of the monkey.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

5 Minute Book Review: Such a fantastic and super cool book. Glow Worm (4) loved it immediately and would look at it daily when we bought it last year in Taiwan. My older two kids, ~8 and ~6, also find the book fascinating and love looking at the incredibly detailed illustrations.

The reason it’s so cool is because it comes with a red “magnifying” glass. It doesn’t really magnify anything, but it does color everything red. Because all the illustrations are in red or blue ink, when you put the magnifying glass over the drawings, since the magnifying glass is red, the red illustrations disappear, revealing the blue ones.

In fact, this feature of the book is so fun and exciting that I didn’t even read the book to the kids until recently. They never wanted to hear the story – just wanted to look at the illustrations and see what the magnifying glass uncovered.

Be forewarned, there are two semi-questionable pictures in the book. One is that there is an illustration of a penis (I included it in the sample pages) and the other is an illustration of a monkey’s butt. I don’t particularly care about either of them, but my kids are particularly fascinated by them.

Also, it’s really hard for me to read the blue print. You could say, read them through the red magnifying glass. And then I would laugh at you because there is no way I’d be able to pry it out of Glow Worm’s hands.

Highly recommend.

Here’s is a video of Glow Worm and I flipping through the book.

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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.

青蛙和蟾蜍快樂年年 (Frog and Toad All Year) Book Review

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Title: 青蛙和蟾蜍快樂年年 (qing wa han4 chan2 chu2 kuai4 le4 nian2 nian2)/Frog and Toad All Year

In fact, here’s the 4 book box set:

青蛙和蟾蜍好朋友 (qing wa han4 chan2 chu2 hao3 peng2 you3)/Frog and Toad are Friends

青蛙和蟾蜍好伙伴 ((qing wa han4 chan2 chu2 hao4 huo3 ban4)/Frog and Toad Together

青蛙和蟾蜍快樂時光 (qing wa han4 chan2 chu2 kuai4 le4 shi2 guang)/Days with Frog and Toad

ISBN: 9780060239510, 9577622461, 95767622453, 9577622437

Author: 艾諾 洛貝爾 (Arnold Lobel)

Publisher: 信誼

Level: Early Reader, Zhuyin, Fiction

Summary: Translation of the classic, Frog and Toad All Year. Includes five short stories of Frog and Toad throughout the year such as sledding, buying ice cream, raking leaves, and Christmas Eve.

Sample Pages: 

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

5 Minute Review: I recall reading these books when I was a kid, but I wasn’t really excited for Cookie Monster (7.5) to read them because I kept confusing Frog and Toad with The Wind and the Willows. But then I remembered (after Cookie Monster read a few) that I had read them in an anthology my parents had bought and I didn’t dislike or love them.

Anyhow, I was reluctant to start Cookie Monster on these also because they’re like chapter books and longer and frankly, I didn’t want to sit there and listen to him read for that long. (I know. I am SO MEDIOCRE.)

However, I finally bit the bullet because just how long can Cookie Monster read short picture books?

I am SO GLAD I did.

I guess he grew up all of a sudden. He says he likes the longer books now because they are more interesting. And then, he has started reading silently by himself. (I have mixed feelings about this because while that does make it easier on me, I cannot verify that he is pronouncing everything right and lately, he has been super messing up his tones.)

Plus, he’s been eager to read the book and finishing it on his own because he said the stories were funny. He even picked it up when he was bored and read on his own.

I don’t know what’s going on. Maybe it was the eclipse. But I am VERY PLEASED.

I was also pleasantly surprised that he actually understood what was going on in the stories and he was good about asking me for help on words he couldn’t quite get the right pronunciation on or didn’t understand their meaning.

All in all, I was very happy that we finally took the plunge.

These books are a nice bridge to actual chapter books and are helping him build confidence that he can actually tackle books with more words and length.

Highly recommend.

In fact, you really should just buy the whole set of four books. I have never seen Cookie Monster voluntarily read books – especially longer books. He finds the stories so silly and funny and he usually reads two chapters at a time.

He actually asked me if there were more Frog and Toad books and unfortunately, we do not. Thankfully, I have a set of 8-9 more Arnold Lobel books! YAY!