As you can imagine, getting Noey ready for Primary 1 involved preparing lots of things for him, from his new school uniform, school bag, school shoes, wallet for pocket money, stationery and a whole host of other necessities. I managed to get most things sorted before the start of school, but in the first week, I quickly discovered there was something I forgot to think about: Chinese storybooks for silent reading.
Noey has a period of silent reading every morning before assembly and on two of those mornings, the students are expected to bring Chinese books to read. We have a small collection of Chinese books but it hadn’t been updated in a while. (Oops!) Since he was required to bring Chinese books to school twice a week, I figured it was time for some new books to pique Noey’s interest and entice him to read more Chinese books. With that decided, I quickly got in touch with Meiru from Flip For Joy for help.
Flip For Joy 乐翻天 is a Singapore-based online Chinese bookstore that is run by the lovely Meiru, a mum and ex-JC Chinese teacher whom I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know after previously purchasing books from her. I’ve previously talked about what sets Flip For Joy apart (click here to read my first post on this bookstore) and I think it boils down to the careful curation of books, and their great service, from making book recommendations to providing hanyu pinyin for some of their titles if you need some help. While Flip for Joy’s books are primarily catered to the pre-school crowd, I asked Meiru for some recommendations that could serve the dual function of being books that I could read to the kids as well as books that Noey could enjoy on his own. Here are the titles she picked out:
This is a very cute pair of books that has quickly become one of Noey’s favourites. In 100层的房子, a boy receives an invitation to play from someone living at the top of a 100-storey house. He goes to visit and journeys through the 100 levels of the house to get to the top. Here is where the beauty of this book lies, for each of the 100 levels is beautifully illustrated, full of cute details. There is a different family of animals living on every 10 levels which makes up a full page spread. Both my children love pouring over these pictures and talking about them while tracing the way up to the top. Even I find the pictures really interesting! There is a simple text that accompanies each page though admittedly it tends forgotten with all the wonderful pictures. But it is very easy to manage and even Mei can read some of it now, after some repetitions.
地下100层的房子 is similar except that this time, a little girl is invited to a party 100-stories underground. We love them both.
When I was browsing through the books Meiru had selected, this series immediately caught my eye. Noey loves finding out about the hows and whys about the things around him so I knew that 十万个为什么 was going to be right up his alley. Specially designed for kids aged 5 and above, is set of 4 books full of questions which kids might have about the world around them with the answers conveyed in the form short stories. Aside from the main story, there are also little boxes of extra facts for those who would like to learn more. The four books cover topics of Plant life, the Animal Kingdom, Geography and Astronomy, and the Human Body and General Knowledge respectively.
Noey really took to this set and enjoys flipping through this. He can manage the books on his own, thanks to the hanyu pinyin, but I not sure he completely understands everything! So I read these books with him to help him along and keep him interested. It is easy to read this together as every story is only two pages long so we can stop whenever we feel like it, or flip ahead to a question that he is more interested in. In the process, I think my own Chinese vocabulary has certainly improved! Definitely highly recommended.
青蛙弗洛格的成长故事 is an award-winning series of 12 books by Dutch author and illustrator Max Velthuijs, translated into Chinese. The series revolves around Frog (弗洛格, geddit?) and his friends and each story addresses different themes like fear, acceptance, love, perseverance, and even death. These potentially heavy topics are dealt with with a light and quirky touch which comes through even in this Chinese version. We certainly found the characters, simply and softly illustrated, rather endearing. 青蛙弗洛格 also says some of the funniest things which really makes my kids crack up.
While he wasn’t that keen on these books when he first saw them, after I read a couple of titles to them, Noey willingly packed a couple of titles on his own into his bag to bring to school to read, which I think speaks for itself. This book comes with hanyu pinyin which is definitely a plus.
好大声的书 and 好安静的书 are books about sounds, as you can tell from the titles. 好大声的书 introduces different types of loud sounds, but they aren’t always what you think! So the loud sounds in this book are caused by a ringing alarm clock and dropping a tray full of food, but also from slurping up the last drop of soup and opening a sweet in the middle of a quiet theatre. 好安静的书 similarly highlights different types of quiet moments, many of which are easy to relate to, like 怕吵醒妹妹的安静 (the quiet you keep for fear of waking your sleeping baby sister) or my favourite one, 好朋友在一起用不着多说话的安静 (the quiet from being with a good friend and having no need to speak). Each page only has a line of text but is beautifully illustrated with the cuddliest animals ever. I found myself smiling through these two books, though I did have to explain some of the situations to the children in order for them to get it. There isn’t hanyu pinyin but the text isn’t difficult, comprising of a single line with repetitive phrases. My 4-year old Mei is in fact able to read some of these books after repeat readings and she’s been enjoying these titles more than Noey.
妈妈你知道吗? is another quirky book about a little boy and how he sees the world through his imagination, at times to his mother’s exasperation. My son and I could quickly relate to the different scenarios, and shared a couple of laughs as we encountered the mother barking out oh-so familiar instructions and her son responding with imaginary tales to explain why he isn’t following her instructions. One that mums with little boys would appreciate!
We’ve been enjoying our books and are delighted to share that we have TWO $20 FLIP FOR JOY E-GIFT CARDS to give away to two lucky readers! To To enter this draw to win an e-gift card, you have to complete the following steps:
1. Visit the Flip for Joy Facebook Page
2. Visit the Life is in the Small Things Facebook Page
(While you’re there, we would greatly appreciate it if you could “LIKE” these pages!)
You have to completeto qualify so don’t miss any out! Use the Rafflecopter widget below to indicate that you’ve done the above. You can also get additional chances by completing the rest of the steps.
- This giveaway ends on Wed 20
- The e-gift cards have a validity of 3 months.
- Winners will be contacted using the contact particulars provided when entering this giveaway and will have 24 hours to accept their prize, failing which a new winner will be drawn.
- All incomplete entries will be disqualified. All entries will be verified against entry criteria before the winners are announced.
- To be fair to our sponsors, please note that all fake Facebook accounts (eg. accounts set up purely to take part in contests with no or very few real friends) will also be ineligible to win.
* We were provided some of the above titles for the purpose of this review. All opinions remain my own.