We won a giveaway from Flip for Joy recently, and lovely Meiru, who founded and owns the business, very generously sent over more sets of books for us to review. Check out the spoils!
|What an array!|
I have amassed quite a collection of Mandarin books for K&B over the years, since I had earlier purposed to
drown immerse them in as much Mandarin as slacker mum me I could possibly manage. I listed to her the sets I already owned, and was happy that she was able to recommend many more suitable sets that her store had as ready-stocks.
There is so much good Mandarin literature out there for children, but it can be hard for the average Singaporean mum to identify and access them. The way Mandarin books are categorised in our (otherwise stellar) national libraries, leaves much to be desired. Board books for little ones, in particular, are scattered throughout, instead of being shelved in a dedicated section. Most books are too wordy, and on thin rice paper – not suitable at all for preschoolers.
Our local brick-and-mortar bookstores offer some Mandarin books, but not quite of the quality as those available from overseas and thus from Flip for Joy, which has an especially wide selection of books which are translations of English, Belgian, and Japanese best-sellers, just to name a few.
For Singaporean mums who struggle with Mandarin, Flip for Joy is a valuable resource indeed. As a mum herself, Meiru is extremely helpful and takes the time to recommend titles suitable for your children once you let her know their ages and your preferences. Even as someone comfortable with the language (老师，我没辜负你们！), it can be hard to procure such books at short notice (for birthday presents and the like) so it’s great that Flip for Joy is very well-stocked with many titles that you can get your hands on very quickly.
So how did we enjoy these books in particular?
This is a charming story of little Vashti, who thought herself useless at art. Her enlightened and nurturing teacher gently nudges her, and subsequently extols her “dot” painting by framing it up prominently near her desk.
|“The dot” – with a lovely handwritten note from Meiru.|
My favourite part of the book was when she similarly inspires a little boy, who attended her ‘dot exhibition’ and related that he was so terrible that he couldn’t even draw a straight line if you gave him a ruler.
She hands him a pencil and drawing sheet. He draws a line that squiggles. And the book ends, as they ponder that line.
K (4.5 years) and B (2 years) both loved this set of books. K insisted on reading the next (and then next!) once we were done with the first. Always a good sign! She also decided that I would read the Mandarin phrases and she would read the English ones on each page.
As you can see the illustrations are delightful. I particularly liked this cat below.
The magical 猜猜看 aspect unfolds as below. If you haven’t noticed, the tip of the cat’s ear becomes the tip of the duck’s beak! B was truly fascinated and enjoyed flipping through the books repeatedly, all by herself too.
The rhymes in both languages were cute, and the Mandarin portions contained some characteristically Mainland-Chinese turns-of-phrase. I enjoyed the fact that the translations had some character of its own, instead of being just word-for-word, which can be bland at times.
|Now a parrot’s fully extended wing!|
|And how gorgeous is this toucan?!|
|Tailored for you, Mrs Gifford|
think thought that my mandarin is was of a respectable standard, and thus I probably wouldn’t need to refer to the 汉语拼音 sheet that was kindly included. How wrong that proved to be… Here (above) is a shot of a small excerpt where I had to refer to the cheat sheet twice! Kudos to you if you can read all the words you can see here without referring to the 汉语拼音!
Simple enough to read aloud to all ages, and the large glossy pages are very attractively illustrated.
K especially enjoyed the book that introduced numbers, and the ‘games’ it incorporated.
Spot her two tiny fingers pointing out where the “two purple hippos” were hidden, on the page below. 🙂
This was the set I had picked out as my giveaway prize. ^_^ It’s translated from Japanese, and the anthropomorphic animals are as cute as they come. The storylines are simple, and revolve around topics that are familiar to preschoolers.
|Which one should I read next?|
|Enjoying the range|
Here are some titles I particularly enjoyed – mainly because it’s an all too familiar scene of crying kids! Lovely how they purpose to stop the waterworks since 我不是小宝宝了. It ends most appropriately with a baby bear, and the sentiment that only 小宝宝s wail! (And even then the parent guide at the inner back cover prompts the parent to ask the child 想一想，你会怎么把他逗笑呢？）
|A too-familiar sight at home|
|Shake hands, people!|
|We could do with oodles of reinforcement on this!|
|Sweet how the toys (and not mummy) are annoyed|
|Cuddliest bear ever|
|Along the same lines of positive reinforcement|
|Very practical application, since we love playgrounds!|
|Ends on a cute note!|
The kids enjoyed the books immensely! With learning languages, nothing comes close to giving children easy access to good literature, so, such wonderful Mandarin books are indeed a good investment.
Meiru does an admirable job of curating a great selection of books, and maintaining a very search-friendly website for those who wish to find age-appropriate books for their kids. Her website also depicts the inner pages of the books, so you can size up the contents, and how suitable they’ll be for your child.