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.

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.

 

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.) 

我要吃小孩: Book Review


Title: 我愛吃小孩 (wo3 yao4 chi xiao3 hai2)/I Want to Eat a Child

ISBN: 9789865876135

Authors/Illustrations: 文/希薇安丶東尼歐,圖/多蘿特丶蒙弗列特,譯/蘇㦤禎 (translated from French)

Publisher: 阿布拉教育文化

Level: Beginning Reader, Zhuyin, Picture Book, Fiction

Summary: Archie, the alligator, doesn’t want to eat any more bananas. He wants to eat a child. Archie’s parents are really worried and try to tempt him with yummy foods but he refuses them all. He finally notices a child but is unable to eat her. He goes home, determined to try again.

Sample Pages:



Rating: 5/5 stars

5 Minute Review: From when I first saw this book at Eslite, I had to buy it. It’s ridiculous and cute and has fun illustrations and a silly story. All my kids enjoyed the book from the get go and I was able to read it because it had zhuyin.

Gamera (5) recently chose to read this book out loud to me and did pretty good for the most part. Some characters she didn’t recognize so she used zhuyin. She can be lazy and forgets to use the zhuyin when she doesn’t know a character. Or she starts reading zhuyin and forgets to read the actual characters. I know this will stop once I start having her read more consistently (but I suffer from constant laziness).

Anyhow, Gamera had a relatively easy time reading the story save a few stumbles. The vocabulary is simple and easy to understand. The pictures are bright and fun. It took Gamera about 20 minutes to read all the way through.

Definitely recommend for adults to read to their children (as well as having children learn to read it themselves).

Here is a video of her reading an excerpt (with commentary from Cookie Monster).