Book: The Littlest Dinosaur 小恐龙

I haven’t been blogging for about two months, as we were busy with the June holidays and the kids falling sick. But we didn’t stop reading this two months, there are many books that I wanted to share, but alas, time doesn’t allow as most books were returned to the library before I have time to take photo and blog about it. Luckily, I manage to “salvage” this book.

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I was trying to look for Chinese books to read to the littlest, when I saw this book on one of the shelves. The (English) book title was just shouting at me to borrowed it. I mean, I always call our youngest the littlest and he has a love for dinosaur, isn’t this book, just by the title, so suitable for him?

Storyline

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This story is about a Mummy Dinosaur who had laid a few eggs. And one day, the eggs began to hatch. However, there is just one egg that wouldn’t hatch. The Mummy Dinosaur took extra care of the egg, fanning it when its hot and keeping it warm when the weather is cold. Due to the extra care that the egg requires, Daddy Dinosaur have to take over the responsibilities of taking care of the other baby dinosaurs.

And one day, when Daddy Dinosaur cannot take it any longer, he wanted to crack the egg, but was obviously stopped by Mummy Dinosaur who feels that the egg should be given time to hatch by itself.

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Finally, one day, the egg hatched. But the dinosaur inside was so small. No bigger than the toe of an adult dinosaur (according to Daddy Dinosaur). And no matter how much Mummy fed the littlest dinosaur, he wouldn’t grow bigger. There were obviously many disadvantages of being such a small dinosaur. So the littlest dinosaur was often very sad. Until one day something happened, and as with most children books, our littlest dinosaur save the day.

What we like

  1. It’s a Chinese and English book combined into one! One book but yet we can teach both languages. And the kids can “read” how the English content is being translated to Chinese and vice versa. A good way to learn language I feel.
  2. It incorporates science and fiction! The littlest dinosaur will climb to the top of the mountain and stay there for a long time because everything seems small when he is at the top of the mountain. So I took the opportunity to ask the littlest to observe if that statement is true. I’m still looking for a way to explain the science behind it in a simple enough way for the kids to understand. Let me know if you have any idea.
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  3. The moral of the story is about accepting ourselves for who we are and we will be useful in our own way. There is no need to get upset for being different. I find this a good value to have, especially for the littlest who often felt that he is not “big” enough to do what his siblings are doing (though his context is a little different from this).
  4. A reflection of real life. I liked the part where Daddy Dinosaur got so tired of taking care of the siblings that he wanted to crack open the egg, so Mummy Dinosaur won’t be spending her time tending to it. It’s so real isn’t it? I think next time when I read this to the kids, I will bring up the analogy that if they fall ill, the same will happen to Daddy and Mummy. So they better keep themselves healthy by drinking more water and washing their hands more often! LOL!

All three kids love the book, though the littlest will not allow me to read every word and choose to look at the pictures. So it really train my skill to summarise it for him. LOL.

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Library Details:

  • Libraries: Ang Mo Kio, Bishan, Bukit Merah, Choa Chu Kang, Geylang East, Jurong, Jurong West, Queenstown, Sembawang, Toa Payoh and Woodlands
  • Call Number: Chinese FOR
  • Location: Junior Lending Picture Book
Growing with the Tans Friday Flips
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Book: Beyond the Tiger Mom

I can’t believe it, I’m finally done with reading the 1st book of the year! I found myself so tired every night that I have no energy to pick up my Kindle to read. But I’m quite glad I have read this book and manage to finish it within 3 months (LOL, so slow).

Beyond the Tiger Mom: East-West Parenting for the Global Age is written by Maya Thiagarajan who was born and raise in India until her teens, where she moved to America to study and later on to teach. After 15 years in US, she moved to Singapore in 2010. Her kids were 5 y.o and 18 months when they moved over. So it is interesting to see how she compares the parenting style in the West and East, particularly for education, which she dedicated a large part of the book to.

I have never stayed in the “West” before, so I do not know the parenting culture “there”, though I have read some of the styles before while trying to be a better parent myself. So I was presently surprised to read in her book that in the West, adults (like teachers) are often held responsible for kids performance in school. Or parents will actually come out with excuses for kids that did not do well. This is really so unlike our Eastern culture. I also agree with some the observations she made on “Eastern” parents. Like our “love” for drilling in education (particularly math) and filling our kids time with enrichment or tuition classes. She went on to explain the pros and cons of both style in education (reading, math and exam preparation), playing and resiliency.

However, I think a lot of Eastern parents are also changing and adapting more Western style parenting as the world becomes more connected and parents get to learn more of different parenting style.

For example, she mentioned that Eastern parents and preschool are not focused on reading aloud and discussing stories but more on phonics and sounding out words. Parents are reading things like Ladybird and Oxford readers to their kids so as to teach reading rather than the letting the kids explore in the fantasy world.

I do not deny many parents are making their kids read the “Readers”, especially when they reach the “Kindergarten” age. However, I think there are also many parents who read freely interesting stories to their children. Even when I was young, my Mum will try within her means to read to me and bring me to the library. In fact, I think reading is quite a common hobby in the past before technology took away our time.

Besides, there are growing number of parents who are also letting their kids go the non-tuition way for their education. An example is Christy from Kids ‘R’ Simple (hop over to her blog to read on how she is doing it).

In short, if you want to get the “best of both worlds”, you can read up this book as she makes the comparison and provide useful tips to implement.

Disclaimer: We received this book for review purposes. No monetary compensation was received and all views are my own.

Book: 大卫,圣诞节到啦!

I know it seems weird to be introducing a book about Christmas when we are in March. However, we chance upon the book in the library and I’m afraid the book won’t be available when its near Christmas period (talking about kiasu, LOL). Besides, the Littlest (2 y.o.) really love the book. It’s the few book he allows me to read from page 1 till the end without pushing my hand away, flip to the last page and declare “The End”. So I think it’s really worth the mention here.

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See the little foot here. The Littlest was trying to snatch the book to “read” when I was trying to take photo for the post.

We are not new to 大卫. We read about him in the other book “大卫惹麻烦” (see pic above) and we know that 大卫 is not a really good boy. In this book, 大卫 continued with his “mischief” on the days leading to Christmas.

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大卫 trying to take a peek at the present.

I use the book to explain to the Littlest (the elder two should already know) what is the wrong thing to do. For example, it is very dangerous for 大卫 to stack the chairs so high and climb on top of it. He could fall off and hurt his head like “humpty dumpty”. The littlest seems to understand it and could say “humpty dumpty” whenever we are reading this page. And when I asked “可以把椅子叠这么高,然后爬上去吗?”, he could reply me “不可以”. But well, in reality, the boy still climbs up chairs around the house when we are not looking. So it’s really, knowing is one, doing is another thing. LOL.

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Another page showing a “mischief” act.

When we were reading this page, I actually asked the elder two, why 大卫 should not be eating the Christmas cookie. I was glad that they actually observed that the cookies were probably not baked yet and 大卫 will probably get a tummy ache from eating it (cause and effect). For the Littlest, he always exclaim “吃饼干” when we come to this page. LOL. He probably couldn’t understand the concept of “uncooked” food yet.

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This is the Littlest favourite page. He burst into laughter and exclaim “naked body” whenever we are at this page.

The kids obviously knows that they need to be clothed when they are out in the street (including the 2 y.o. understand this). Before proceeding to the next page, you can actually ask the kids “你觉得为什么大卫会光着身子出门去?”. This will simulate their creative thinking and helps in their 口语表达 and probably 看图说故事 next time. There is actually some clues in the written words, see if your kids manage to guess it. And I think it will be a joy listening to their answers.

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Oh.. 大卫 has been looking forward to Christmas and his present. But he is not going to receive any?

This is my favourite page. LOL. We use this page to describe about emotions and also to tell the kids that they are not going to get present if they misbehave, just like 大卫. So they better start behaving now. And that is the reason why we should be reading this book even before Christmas comes. LOL. As to whether 大卫 is really not getting any present, read the book to find out for yourself. 🙂

Overall, we love this book as it is (1) funny, (2) easy to read (only a few words per page) and (3) a lot of room for discussion. Like the few pages we showed above, there is so much to talk about in the illustrations that can expand the kids vocab in Chinese and also their creativity.

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This is actually the back cover of the book, but it’s equally funny. Like a “chocolate cow”? I asked the kids if a “chocolate cow” will give “chocolate milk”. Obviously, they are old enough to provide me the correct answer. But you may be surprise at what younger kids might think.

This book is available at our local libraries:

  • Libraries: Ang Mo Kio, Bedok, Bishan, Bukit Batok, Bukit Merah, Central, Cheng San, Choa Chu Kang, Clementi, Geylang East, Jurong, Jurong West, Marine Parade, Pasir Ris, Queenstown, Sembawang, Serangoon, Tampines, Toa Payoh, Woodlands
  • Call Number: Chinese SHA
  • Location: Junior Lending Picture Book
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Book: Maisy’s Plane and Maisy’s Tractor

Some people grew up watching Sesame Street or Mickey Mouse, my kids grew up watching and reading Maisy. Not so sure how many of you actually know of this mouse.

I learned about Maisy as it was one of the recommended books for young children. I borrowed Maisy from the library and chance upon a Maisy DVD when I was shopping at Popular one day, it complimented what we were reading, so I allowed the kids to watch it once they are above 1 y.o.

I think the kids love the simple drawing and storyline of Maisy. Even my elder two (7 y.o and 6 y.o) can watch Maisy with the littlest (2 y.o.) now and still enjoy it. There are many Maisy books in the library. Today, we are sharing two of the books meant for younger kids. There are other ranges for slightly older pre-schoolers, which I hope to share in the future.

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The pilot driving the aeroplane is (of course) Maisy, guess where is she going?

In “Maisy’s Plane”, Maisy is driving her aeroplane to Eddie’s (another main character) birthday party. But the emphasis on the book is definitely about transportation.

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This page exposes the kid to related vocab like ‘Engine’, ‘Vroom’ and ‘Propellers’.

At this age, the kids probably wouldn’t understand what each part of the vehicle is for, but we can still expose them to the vocab and do simple explanation.

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If you notice, the different characters came in different types of transport.

As you can see, the exposure on transportation is gently worked into something the kids know and can identify with, i.e. birthday party. Although there is not much words, again, there is a lot to discuss in the drawings. The littlest love to point to the different objects and name them (including the small gingerbread man), this also trains their observation skills.

If you have a child that loves transportation or you wish to expose your young kids to transportation, consider reading this book.

Maisy Tractor
Maisy is now working on a tractor.

This book is not really about the tractor, but what Maisy does in the farm using the tractor.

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Maisy milking the cow in the farm.

Well, if you are bringing your young kids to farm trips (near or far), can consider reading this book before the trip, to get the kids excited about farm as well as letting them learn more about the work of farmers.

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This book also have exposure on numeracy as Maisy counted her sheep.

Both books are available from the public library:

  • Library: Ang Mo Kio, Bishan, Bukit Batok, Bukit Merah, Central, Cheng San, Choa Chu Kang, Clementi, Geylang, Jurong, Jurong West, Queenstown, Serangoon, Tampines, Toa Payoh, Woodlands
  • Call Number: English COU-[BA]
  • Location: Junior Lending Picture Book
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Book: 这是什么队列?

They kids read this book in school and borrowed it from the library when we chanced upon it. And my interesting 7 y.o. boy decides to borrow the English version when he spotted it in Molly.

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Sorry for the blur photo as the Littlest (2 y.o) was trying to snatch the book from me. He loves to point at the animals and tell me their names.

This story is about the different animals lining up for something. So what are they queuing for? Read to find out, LOL.

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As you can see, the name of the animals are listed.

If your kids are really into animals, this is really useful for them to know what each animal is called. Especially when we have both the English and Chinese version, we can do a one-to-one match to know the names in Chinese. LOL.

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Do you know Hyena is called 鬣狗 in Chinese?

We also love it that there are Hanyu Pinyin below some of the more complicated words to aid us in reading. Like the Hyena. And is also a book to expose the younger kids to numeracy and the concept of counting down.

There isn’t many words in this book, however, there is so much to discuss on the illustrations. The “behaviors” of the animals are shown, that allow parents to post some questions to set the kids thinking. Like “What do you think the Wolf is finding tasty?”. Reading for young children is not only about reading words, but also to examine the illustrations and stimulate their imagination.

This book is available at our Public Library. Do check it out:

  • Library: Ang Mo Kio, Bishan, Bukit Batok, Bukit Merah, Central, Cheng San, Choa Chu Kang, Clementi, Geylang East, Jurong, Jurong West, Marine Parade, Queenstown, Sembawang, Serangoon, Tampines, Toa Payoh and Woodlands
  • Call Number: Chinese OHM
  • Location: Junior Lending Picture Book
Growing with the Tans Friday Flips

Book: Milk Goes to School

The elder two love Terry Border books. I think they find it funny, and he has repetitive phrases which the kids can recite to after reading it for a few times. So they were very happy when we spotted this new title at the library last week.

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The main character of the book, Milk.

The story is about Milk first day of school. It started with Milk getting a little scared of her first day. So to boost her confidence, her father told her she is “la crème de la crème“, meaning “best of the best”. Given that she is “milk”, there was probably some pun intended here. When Milk reaches school, she tried to be friendly with everyone. But her jokes were insensitive and she also told everyone that her father says she is “la crème de la crème”. This puts her friends off, especially Waffle who commented that she is “spoiled”. As with all children book, the day always ends with everyone resolving their differences and became friends.

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This page shows the content of Milk’s bag spilling out. And we noticed that there was no books but lots of hair clips. From here, we realize that Milk actually changes her hair clip on every page of the book! The kids were quick to point out that this is not the right thing to do in school. LOL.

After our last book on puns, I’m actually quite glad to find another book to continue teaching the kids on “puns”. The most obvious “pun” is”spoiled”. The first time when Waffle commented she is spoiled, Milk actually “smelled” herself. I took the opportunity to explain to the kids what does “spoiled” means in this context (actually I was quite surprise the kids doesn’t know it, LOL. Maybe we didn’t read enough books!).

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Chicken nuggets hatching out of eggs?

We also enjoyed the humor, such as the one above. The kids couldn’t stop laughing when they saw the nuggets hatching. I’m just glad that they know that nuggets are processed food and doesn’t hatch from an egg naturally. LOL.

And of course the different learning points throughout the story. I actually asked the kids who do they think is a better person, “Waffle” or “Milk”? I’m glad that they both came to conclusion that both are not so nice and that we should be more sensitive to others when we talk or make comments.

As parents, this book also serve as a reminder of what are the appropriate words to say to the kids. We may think our kids are very great, but telling them they are “best of the best” may not be for their best interest. But we should also not stop short of giving them praises when they indeed earned it. Its how we phrase the praises that is more important.

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This book is available at our public library. Do check it out.

  • Library: Ang Mo Kio, Bedok, Bishan, Bukit Batok, Bukit Merah, Central, Cheng San, Choa Chu Kang, Clementi, Geyland East, Jurong, Jurong West, Marine Parade, Pasir Ris, Queenstown, Sembawang, Serangoon, Tampines, Toa Payoh and Woodlands
  • Call Number: English BOR

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Book: 一百层的房子

A house that has 100-storey, isn’t it interesting? Who live up there?

一百层的房子 is written and illustrated by Japanese author 岩井俊雄. Of course the ones we are reading has been translated to Chinese. As you would have noticed, we have a love for Japanese translated Chinese 绘本. The Japanese can tell nice and simple stories with beautiful illustration.

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The story of 一百层的房子 revolves around a boy who receives an invitation to visit “somebody” at the 100-storey house. So the boy went (even though he didn’t know who invited him) and was pleasantly surprised with who live there.

wp-1487059220258.jpgSo apparently, there is a different kind of animal leaving in every 10 floors. So as he climbs the “stairs” to reach the 100-storey, he played and interacted with the different animals.

What we like is the illustrations that can tell many story. And how they are closely related to the actual behaviors of the animals. Like in the picture above, the mouse can be seen running on the wheel.

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This pages also tells us about some characteristics of frogs. They need water periodically to keep their skin wet otherwise they might suffocate. Science with fiction, “Yeah” for us.

It is also interesting to note in the above pages that the concept of “recycling” is brought in. The water that the frogs uses for their bath, are piped back into the plants which produces water that goes back to their shower. It may not sound very realistic, but the main idea is there.

We have a fun time looking at the pictures and discussing about them. In engaging young children to read, particularly Chinese books, we should not be focusing only on the words. Many times, the pictures in 绘本 are telling a better story. And there is so much more to discuss. Through discussion, we enhance their observation skills, stretch their imagination and at the same time teaching them to articulate their thoughts. It would be great if the discussion is carried out in Chinese (that’s what I always attempt to do, though I’m not successful all the time. When the kids ran out of the Chinese vocab, they went back to English. I will seize the opportunity to teach them the Chinese equivalent).

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One of the discussion was “Do you notice anything really different about the snake house?” which leads to “Why do you think there was no proper steps in their house?”.

The only complain I have for the book, is that it is too long! The author need to show 10 storey across two pages. So we have to hold the book vertically and read. Can be quite difficult to manage. But the concept of the house is there, and the book is specially structured that it require us to read from bottom up, just like the boy climbing up the house.

Both the elder kids (7 y.o and 5.5 y.o) love the book. I only received the book in early January and the book was so well read that it’s a little torn. The boy brings the book or the other two from the series to school for his silent reading too.

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Although I got this book off Taobao, it is also available at some of our local library.
Call Number: Chinese IWA
Libraries Available: Geylang, Jurong and Sembawang

The library list is according to NLB website, which is not 100% accurate. I have come across books that are not available at the library being there. So you may want to give it a try. Otherwise, you can get it off Taobao or ezbuy if you can’t read Chinese well.

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored or paid post. I brought the books with my own money and is just adding the ezbuy link for convenience sake. I don’t receive any referral fee from them. All opinions are our own. Happy Reading!

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