Being an English Language teacher by profession, I gravitate naturally towards English books for Noah. Before he was born, I bought a few books for him and was also given quite a few hand-me-down books. One day, it struck me that I had no Chinese books for Noah at all! In fact, the little boy had never even heard me speak in Mandarin, apart from the first month when my confinement lady was around.
I decided to rectify the problem immediately and dragged C to the nearest Popular to get a few Chinese titles for Noah. I honestly didn’t think I would have difficulties finding some books for him, but I was clearly mistaken. In fact, there were errors in one of the three books I bought. If I, the *ahem* ex-Higher Chinese* student, who hasn’t actively read a Chinese book in the last ten years or so, can identify the error, there is a serious problem.
*Some background information: When I passed my Higher Chinese examination, my Chinese teacher told me bluntly, “你这个是侥幸的, 不要再考了, 再考一定不及格的.” Translation: You were lucky to have passed. Don’t re-take the exam. You’ll definitely fail if you re-take it. Now you know how bad my Chinese is!
Thankfully, I came across Flip for Joy and contacted the very helpful Meiru for recommendations. I was very impressed that she took the time and effort to compile a list of books that she thought would be suitable for us, based on our requirements. I asked for books that were either bilingual or came with Hanyu Pinyin, and she gave me such a comprehensive list that I had a tough time deciding which ones to get.
Noah with three of his favourite Flip for Joy reads
I finally decided on the following titles for the time being, and will add on to our collection once C, our Chief Financial Officer, gives me the go ahead.
– The Flip Flip Hooray ages 0-3 Starter Pack A ($55) consists of eight different books, all of which are very colourful and attractive. 大大小小的书 comes in a variety of shapes and sizes, and Noah enjoys being able to hold the smaller books. 棕色的熊，棕色的熊，你在看什么？ (Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you see?) is a bilingual book with simple rhyming and repetitive phrases, perfect for introducing colours and animals to young children. 数一数，亲了几下 is translated from the US bestseller, Counting Kisses. I enjoy reading it to Noah as his bedtime story, as I get to shower him with kisses!
乐乐趣猜猜看系列（$14.90) is a set of four cleverly illustrated bilingual books. The animals transform magically from one to another just by a flip of the page! The text is written in rhymes, making it catchy and easy to read. I also like that the books are made of sturdy, laminated paper, which allows Noah to handle them roughly, without damaging them. Noah is at the stage where he grabs everything and tries to put it into his mouth, and I usually have to hold the books out of his reach when we read. With this series however, he is allowed to pull the books towards him and even taste them, because I can easily wipe them dry after that.
Gnawing on his book
鳄鱼不刷牙 Crocodiles don’t brush their teeth ($6.90) is a delightfully witty bilingual book with brightly coloured pictures. This is one of my faves too and I often read it to Noah before bedtime as it is short illustrates good habits and hygiene practices. I’ve also learnt how to say ‘blow your nose’ in Chinese after reading this book!
Checking out the crocodile
交通工具捉迷藏 ($8.50) is a colourful creative board book from Japan that promises to stretch your child’s imagination. I selected this book as I realized that most of the other books I picked are animal-related, so I thought I’d mix things up a little with a book on vehicles. I have a confession to make though. I can’t read some of the names of the vehicles in Chinese! Hanyu Pinyin wasn’t provided for this book, so I have to do a little extra homework. I thought my days of struggling with Chinese were long over, but I guess I was wrong. Hopefully, by starting Noah early on Chinese books, he won’t have as much trouble with the language as I did.
猜猜我有多爱你 Guess how much I love you ($15.90) is a classic which celebrates the love between a parent and a child. I just couldn’t resist getting this heartwarming story for Noah as I sometimes read the English version to him. However, it is a little too lengthy for his short attention span at the moment, so I’ll be putting it away for now, till he is a bit older.
Meiru also provided me with two complimentary titles for this review and as with her other recommendations, they are excellent choices for little ones.
谁的谁的，我的我的翻翻书（$39.90) is a series of 13 books, of which I received five. These bilingual books are interactive, and children can relate to their experiences of interacting with their various family members and learn interesting facts about animals.
我的动物书 is an encyclopedia series of books about animals and I found them very useful, as I honestly didn’t know what the Chinese names of many animals are. What sets this series apart from the other books is that the pictures aren’t drawings of animals, but real-life photographs instead. At least when Noah visits the zoo in the future, he won’t expect the animals to look like cartoon drawings and be surprised by how the animals really look!
Some of the encyclopedia books
Learn about lions! I think the cub’s speech bubbles are really cute.
We were very privileged to have gotten a sneak preview of 我的动物书 as it hasn’t been launched yet. Do check out the Fresh Flips section in April to grab your set and to see what other new and exciting books will be available.
When ordering the books, I requested for the Hanyu Pinyin texts to be given to me as well, and this saved me a lot of time. All I had to do was look for the words that I required help with, then write the Hanyu Pinyin onto the book directly for my own reference. With 鳄鱼不刷牙, the Hanyu Pinyin for some words was even written on the book for me. How’s that for good service!
GROWING WITH THE TANS & FLIP FOR JOY GIVEAWAY
Want to win a copy of 鳄鱼不刷牙? Here’s what you have to do.
Step 1. In the comments section below, answer this simple question: What are the three different categories of Flip for Joy books? Hint: The answer (in the form of Flip for … ) can be found on their website!
Step 2. Like the Flip for Joy Facebook Page
Step 3. Like the Growing with the Tans Facebook Page (if you haven’t already done so)
You need to have done all three of the above in order to qualify for the draw. Don’t forget to leave your email address so that we can contact you if you win!
For an additional chance to win:
Step 4. SHARE this post on your Facebook wall and/or on Twitter, and remember to let me know that you have shared it too.
Closing Date: Sunday, 17 March 2013, 2359h
Disclosure: I received five books from the 谁的谁的，我的我的翻翻书 series and five from the我的动物书 series. All other books listed in this review were purchased. All opinions are my own.
Update: This giveaway is now closed. Thanks for taking part in it! I conducted a random draw and the lucky winner of Crocodiles Don’t Brush Their Teeth is Kathryn Ng. Congratulations! You’ll be receiving an email shortly, so do look out for it. 🙂