Taro Gomi is one of Japan’s most prolific children’s book illustrators and writers, who has published over 400 books in Japan. His work has been widely translated into other languages, and I chanced upon some Chinese translations of his books at the library, and thought they looked simple enough for Noah to understand (since his Chinese standard is almost non-existent).
Taro Gomi’s illustrations are really cute, and he employs slapstick humour in quite a few of these books, which never fails to send Noah into fits of giggles. The text is short and repetitive, so even Noah, who can barely remember his own Chinese name at times, is able to recite certain lines with me, and with great gusto too! He keeps telling me, “This book is soooo funny!”
During the first few readings of new Chinese books, I usually translate the text line by line, so that Noah understands what’s going on. Once I’m sure he knows what I’m saying, I’ll just read the Chinese text, and ask him questions in Mandarin to check that he understands the story. In books with an interactive element such as 谁藏在那儿, Noah usually answers in English, so I tell him what it is in Chinese, then get him to repeat them to me. After a few rounds, he will sometimes give me the answer in Chinese, and that is good enough for me.
Noah enjoys these Taro Gomi books so much that he actually picks them out of his book box, and asks me to read them to him. When I’m unavailable, he actually sits and flips through them on his own, reciting whatever lines he can from memory, and laughing to himself. You have no idea how happy that makes me, because he usually picks English books over Chinese ones. I guess the short text makes the books seem less intimidating, and it helps that the illustrations appeal to him as well.
I absolutely love the Chinese translations of Taro Gomi’s books, and will be sharing a few more in next week’s Friday Flips, because we just can’t get enough of them.
Check out the previous Friday Flips posts HERE. I’ve also created a photo album on Facebook with some other good reads, and will be updating it whenever I come across more books that we enjoy. Do pop by for a look HERE.