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.

Linking up to:

Growing with the Tans Friday Flips