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: 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: 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: Sarahbelle’s Playful Puns

Although the boy (6.5 y.o) is quite well read, we didn’t really introduce “Puns” to him. He initially thought they were similar to words that rhyme. I tried explaining to him and the girl, but they couldn’t quite get it. The best way is to learn through examples, which are playfully “illustrated” (pun intended) in this book “Sarahbelle’s Playful Puns”

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Naughty or Knotty?

The book talks about a day of Sarabelle, and how she uses pun in her day and brings laughter to her mother as well as us (the readers). This is good as the kids can identify with the things she is doing.

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This is the kids favourite page, they laughed loudly when we come to this page. Something they could really identify with. Guess what is Daddy doing?

The kids love the book and requested me to re-read a few times when we first got our hands on it. The illustration and story were funny. However, some words are unfamiliar to our kids, so they didn’t quite get the gist of the pun. For example, we don’t usually use the word “knotty”. I usually says “tangled” so my girl didn’t understand “knotty” until I explained to her. However, it does give her a chance to learn new words!

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What word rhymes with Otter?

“Sarabelle’s Playful Puns” is written by a local writer, Anastasia, who is a part-time working mum to three small children. This book is about her eldest daughter who is 6 (same as the boy!). Through the story, she hope to demonstrate that language is very much alive and fun. As a mum, she wants to leave a legacy for her daughter and immortalise the precious things that she says now.

Support local author and get her book from this crowd funding website or at Le Petit Pumm, Centerpoint, #03-05. It will make a great christmas present for the 4-8 y.o.

*Disclaimer: We received this book for review purposes. No monetary compensation was received. We are just doing our part in helping local authors. All opinions, fun and laughter are our own.

Book: The Day the Crayons Came Home

After we read about how Duncan’s crayon quit, we are very happy to know that there is a sequel to it!

So, it was another day that Duncan took out his crayons to color. Nope this time round his crayons are still around, just that he noticed another stack of postcards meant for him. It’s from the crayons that he has forgotten.

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Postcards are something quite ‘alien’ to the kids these days. The boy knows about it because the last time we were in Melbourne, we bought a postcard and post it back to my parents. It’s a good experience and I think it serve as a good memento too. Try it the next time you go travelling.

Similarly, this story book is full of jokes that make the kids laugh.

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Remember the two colors that wanted to be the Sun. Guess what happened to them?

This books also introduces more less-known colors like Neon Red, Pea Green, Burnt Sienna, etc. Colors that even Mummy doesn’t know they exists. LOL.

And similar to the previous book, different feelings are brought up. This time round, the kids learn about embarrassment.

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Make a guess why is Brown so embarrassed?

This book also touch lightly on countries as they show Neon Red going on a tour before reaching ‘home’.

But my favourite page of the book is really this.

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There are characters from both books on this page.

I like how he creatively solve the ‘problem’ for everyone and it’s just such a happy page to look at.

This book can be found in most National Library

  • Section: Junior Lending Picture Book
  • Call Number: English DAY

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Book: The Day the Crayons Quit

How does it feel when you wanted to look for Crayons to do some colouring and you found a stack of letters addressed to you instead? Well that was what happened to Duncan.

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Duncan was looking for his Crayons and found a stack of letters written by them addressing to him, mainly to complain about how they were “treated” by him.

The kids love this book because the crayons were really funny. There was the orange and yellow fighting to be the color of the sun and the “naked” peach color. They couldn’t stop laughing at the jokes.

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The boy thinks that this page is so funny that he can memorize the letter ‘Peach Crayon’ wrote.

For me, I like how the book introduces some uncommon color (e.g. peach and beige) to the kids and what are the objects that is in that color.

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And more importantly it teaches about different kind of feelings. It’s good to let the kids know, apart from happy, sad and angry there are other kinds of feelings that may better describe how they are feeling. For example, the girl asked me what is ’empty’. It may be a little difficult to explain and also for them to get the concept right away. But I think one day when they experience it, they will know what it is and better articulate them to others.

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This book can be found in most National Library:

  • Section: Junior Lending Picture Book
  • Call Number: English DAY

There is a sequel to this book which I will share the next week. Meanwhile, enjoy the jokes in this first.

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Book: 谁敢嘲笑狮子

I realize I haven’t been sharing much Chinese books on the blog. Its time to start the trend rolling. Lol. Expect more Chinese books to come along the way.

The Story

What is a lion good at? In this book “谁敢嘲笑狮子”, the lion was trying to brag about himself to a lioness.

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After considering, the lion thinks he is good at running…

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But is there any animal that can run faster than the lion?

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Well, a cheetah can definitely run faster than a lion. Who can climb a tree faster than a lion? Who is stronger than a lion?

Well, the book revolves around the lion trying to think of something he is really good at. But unfortunately whatever he comes up with, there is always an animal that can do better. It makes him really upset, until he finally found something that he is good at. Well, you gotta read the book to find out what his talent is.

The Learning Points

One thing about reading I learned from my kids pre-school teachers is that there should be engagement during the process. And this can be through asking simple questions. The usual “Who”, “Why”, “What”, “How”. Especially when they are 5 years old and above, there should be more second level detail questions and not just questions that can be answered by observing the illustration.

For a starter, this book is great as it naturally makes you ask the kids what is coming up next. The book is by laid out such that on one page, the lion will be talking about a particular skills he is good at. And you can then make the kids guess which animal is better at that skill and is likely to be coming up in the next page. The kids will have a good time playing the guessing game.

Apart from understanding about animals, the book has a greater learning story behind. It remind us (kids and parents) that everyone has something that they are good at. There isn’t a need for constant comparison. Even if you feel that you are not good at anything, it probably just means you haven’t found what you are good at. Just like how the lion found out what he is good at after a few rounds.

I use it to explain to the boy (6 y.o) that its ok if he loses in some games. Cause it’s probably his friends are better than him in that area. He should not give up but continue to learn and explore what he is good at. It is also a reminder to myself that as the boy starts formal education next year, we should not be joining others in the “rat race”. Everybody is unique in their own way, and has their own talent.

Conclusion

If you are looking for a Chinese book to read with your kids, consider borrowing this from the library. The illustrations are attractive and the words are not too difficult to read. The learning story behind is also great.

Details (at time of publish):

  • Book Title: 谁敢嘲笑狮子
  • Call Number: Chinese BRI (Junior Lending Picture Book)
  • Available at (Public Library): Ang Mo Kio, Bedok, Bishan, Bukit Merah, Central, Cheng San, Choa Chu Kang, Clementi, Geylang East, Jurong, Jurong West, Marine Parade, Pasir Ris, Queenstown, Sembawang, Tampines, Toa Payoh, Woodlands and Yishun

 

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