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
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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!

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

Book: 十四只老鼠大搬家

We stumbled upon this book quite by chance. I make it a point that the kids must borrow at least one Chinese book each time we visit the library. So the girl was looking around and I was helping and I saw this book and showed it to the girl, cause she loves reading “Seven Little Mice” series, and I thought this drawing looks similar with that (I later found out they were from the same illustrator). The boy also quipped in to share that he has read another book from this 十四只老鼠 series in school and enjoys it. So we borrowed two from the series back home.

And since that day, the two books were read almost everyday before bed time. The kids simply love the illustration which is funny at times.

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The wordings will also have questions that make you examine the illustration and find out who is doing something funny. The kids love looking for the answer.

I believe “十四只老鼠大搬家” is the first in the series. It talks about how the family of 14 (Grandpa, Grandma, Dad, Mom and 10 siblings) were out scouting for a new house. They walked in the forest, slept in the open, met the weasel and finally found a big tree that meet their requirements.

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There will also be funny illustration like this where someone was hit by the bamboo. Or who is the naughty ones that are not working but fooling around. I think it reminded the kids of themselves so they love looking out for such ‘funny’ drawings.

So off they go to build their house. They even manage to connect water from a waterfall all the way back to the outside of their house. It certainly show the kids that team work is very important. Everyone has a part to play in the family.

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We used this page to discuss about Science. I asked how the kids think how the water can flowed all the way home. I think it is also a good extension into a home project to make our own structure using straws to experiment it out.

Apart from learning about working together as a team, we learned quite a handful of Chinese vocab from the book. For example, the boy asked me “What is 黄鼠狼?” (haha, Mama knowledge of animals and Chinese is limited). I had to check with Mr Google to find the answer.

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Together we also found out what is 橡子, 松果 and 山药.

If you are looking for a good 绘本 to read to your pre-schooler, consider this book. It has interesting story and beautiful illustration.

Title: 十四只老鼠大搬家
Author:
Iwamura, Kazuo
Call No.: Chinese IWA
Available At: Ang Mo Kio, Bishan, Bukit Merah, Central, Cheng San, Choa Chu Kang, Clementi, Geylang East, Jurong West, Marine Parade, Queenstown, Serangoon, Tampines, Toa Payoh, Woodlands and Yishun Libraries