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

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
Growing with the Tans Friday Flips

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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Growing with the Tans Friday Flips

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!

Growing with the Tans Friday Flips

Book: The 7 Habits of Happy Kids

“The 7 Habits of Happy Kids” is written by Sean Covey, who is the son of Stephen Covey, the author behind “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”. Needless to say, this book is also base on “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”. However, it is written in such a way that it makes it easy for the kids to relate and understand.

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The main characters in the book. Your kids may identify with some of them.

The book introduces each habit by starting with a story, usually lead by one of the kids as the main character. And ends with explaining the habit that the kids should form.

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The stories are also beautifully illustrated so that it engages pre-schoolers too.

What I like about the book is that the stories are really things that happened to our kids. For example, there is a story about one of the kid getting bored and starts “complaining” about it. Which of your kid has never done this before? I think none. My kids will from time to time complain to me that they have “nothing to do”. Which really irritates me. LOL.

Or like the story, in the above picture, about choosing to learn spelling and going out to play. For my eldest who is P1 this year, this story is so timely. I hope he can really learn through the story and not make the mistake himself.

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I also love the “Parents’ Corner” that is at the end of each chapter (or habit). It gives us little tips on what to do, how to facilitate the discussion should you have no idea (like me) and some tips for the kids too.

We have not finish reading the book. But the boy has already picked up and use “effectively” 2 habits. The first is “Begin with the end in mind”. The last time we were at Kidzania, he was very clear his end goal was to “buy” the snake toy which is not cheap. So throughout his entire play there, he goes only to “jobs” that give him money. And skipped those that will cost him money including his favourite “ice-cream maker job”. In the end, he manage to get the snake and was very happy and proud of himself.

The other habit he had form was the “Think Win-Win”. He started “negotiating” for terms so that we can both get what we want. He wanted more screen time (as MeiMei has it), while I wanted him to practice one more round of his spelling and 听写 (as he has made some careless mistakes). So in the end we came to a common term and both got what we wanted. Though I’m not too sure this habit should be used in such a way, LOL.

I hope both the elder kids will somehow learn and form the habits along the way. And when the time is right, I will share the book with the littlest too.

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The book ends with a summary of all the habits and its relation to independence, interdependence and continuous improvements, much like the book for the adults.

If you are looking for good habits to instill into your kids do check out this book. They are available as physical copy and e-resource at our public library.

Growing with the Tans Friday Flips

Book: Hi! Fly Guy

We chance upon the “Fly Guy” series of book from the scholastic book list that was sent home from the kids’ school. The first book we read was actually “Fly Guy’s Amazing Tricks”. But it was so funny that the boy request for other series of the book. And a search on NLB latest app shows that there are actually eCopies of the series available for loan. So the prudent mummy borrowed as many title as she could find from the series. LOL.

The first in the series should be this book “Hi! Fly Guy”.

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Chapter 1 talks about how the boy named Buzz was out looking for a pet to catch for “The amazing pet show” and bumped into the fly who was looking for food. He caught it and decides to keep him as a pet and named him “Fly Guy”.

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In the subsequent chapters, it talks about how he convinces his parents that flies can be pets. And brought Fly Guy to “The Amazing Pet Show” only to be laughed by the judges.

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We love the book because the drawing is pretty and the story is funny. Entertainment aside, it teaches some values to the kids too. Like in this book, although Buzz got laughed at, he didn’t just give up. He tried together with Fly Guy to convince everyone. Something I find appropriate at this juncture for the boy as he is going to a new big school next year. He is bound to meet times where people will laugh at him or the things he did. He shouldn’t just feel embarrassed and shun away. If it is something he feels strongly about, maybe he should stand up for himself like Buzz did.

This is a simple chapter book that the boy (6.5 yo) can read by himself. So if you are trying to introduce the concept of chapter books or encourage your pre-schooler to read chapter books by themselves, this may be a good starting point.

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Title: Hi! Fly Guy!
Author: Arnold, Tedd
Call No.: English ARN
Available At: Ang Mo Kio, Bedok, Bishan, Bukit Batok, Bukit Merah, Central, Cheng San, Choa Chu Kang, Geylang, Jurong, Jurong West, Queestown, Sembawang, Serangoon, Toa Payoh and Woodlands Library