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: 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: 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

 

Book: 巴巴爸爸的诞生

One day after school, the boy came home excitedly and told me he need want to get a book called 爸爸爸爸 *my brain went…*. I clearified with him, and luckily he recognise the words and told me its “巴士的巴”, follow by Daddy. *Phew*.

The boy love to read and we have no lack of reading materials at home. But I was quite surprise he wanted a Chinese book so badly. According to him, his best friend, H, brought one of the books to school for her Chinese show and tell. And subsequently, brought more from the series for sharing. He finds the story interesting and wants to read them all.

I have a soft spot for books and since the boy wanted so badly I decide to get it for him. I went to my favourite shopping website to search. I was happy to find the series at a reasonable price. However, the shipping was expensive (about 2.5 kg), but I think add together still reasonable for 16 books in total.

A little background about 巴巴爸爸. Its translated from French, Barbapapa, which was written in 1970s. So some of the storyline may seems “dated”, but I think the underlying messages still apply.

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The first book 巴巴爸爸的诞生, as the title suggests, covers the birth of 巴巴爸爸, the main character of the story.

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Apparently, 巴巴爸爸 was planted by a little boy in his backyard. And slowly he grew and grew, until he wasn’t able to fit into the little boy’s home anymore. For some reason, he was sent to the zoo.

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As you can see, he wasn’t happy in the zoo as he doesn’t have any freedom. He was very sad, until one day, he noticed something special about himself.

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So 巴巴爸爸 is very flexible and can take many form and shapes. However, this pose another problem.

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The zoo is no longer willing to keep him as he is not in a cage and “walks” around the zoo freely.

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He can’t fit into a hotel either. So 巴巴爸爸 is sad again. However, as with most kids stories, there is always a happy ending. Read the book to find out what happened.

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What I like about the book are the learning points that we can relate to life.

  • When we are trapped in a situation, did we think out of the box and see if there are other alternatives? Like how 巴巴爸爸 found that he can actually “squeeze” out of the cage.
  • There are social norms in our society that makes us feel out of place. Do we just continue to sulk and be sad, or embrace it? Just like how the zoo chase 巴巴爸爸 out because he is not “normal”.
  • Do we find out what we are good at and make good use of it?

All these questions may seems a little tough for a pre-schooler. However, its good way to get them to think, and hopefully help them in the days to come.

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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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