As Singaporeans, we are all expected to be effectively bilingual, but that is definitely something which many of us struggle with. In our family, our default language used is English, and we only speak in Mandarin when we don’t want Noah to know what we’re talking about, since he doesn’t really understand the language. Sad but true.
Every now and then, I get really worried about his inability to communicate with Mandarin-speaking folks, and try to introduce some Chinese books into his ever-growing home library. We first came across Flip for Joy, an online Chinese bookstore, two years ago, when I realised that Noah didn’t have a single Chinese book, and have been getting Noah’s Chinese books from them since then. The books are carefully curated by Meiru, a former Chinese Language teacher, and she was most helpful when I wrote to her back then, asking for her recommendations on what to get for Noah. You can read more about our first selection of Chinese books in this post.
Flip for Joy’s books are suitable for children aged 9 and below, and fall into these three categories: Flip for Fun, Flip for Knowledge, and Flip for Love. I like that there are some bilingual books available, as well as Chinese translations of familiar titles, such as The Very Hungry Caterpillar (好饿的毛毛虫), and The Tiger who came to Tea (老虎来喝下午茶). I personally feel that these are extremely useful for introducing Chinese books to young children who haven’t had much exposure to the Chinese language.
Flip for Fun, Knowledge, and Love!
Ever since Noah started school this year, he has definitely become more familiar with the Chinese language. He can sing a few Chinese songs (though he can’t pronounce some of the words properly), and occasionally uses a few Chinese words without being prompted. Just as I was thinking of getting him more Chinese books, Meiru blessed us with a wonderful selection, perfect for his age, and Noah was instantly attracted to them.
Fresh Flips for us!
Noah’s favourites from this batch of books are 刷刷刷，刷牙啦！and 哗啦啦，冲马桶！because he loves pressing the sound effects buttons on both books. We didn’t realise that there were flaps to be lifted on some pages initially, but Noah discovered one flap by accident, and went on a mission to find all the flaps in both books. He was most amused when he saw the poop in the toilet bowl, so he kept closing and opening that flap, and laughing at the poop. *rolls eyes*
As a parent, I thought these books were very apt for him, because he’s learning how to brush his teeth properly, and occasionally asks to poop in the potty. The books aren’t very wordy, and explain both processes very simply. I particularly liked the summary pages at the end, where the steps for brushing teeth and using the toilet bowl are laid out clearly. Of course, Noah had to press the sound effects button at every stage, but at least he was engaged!
Brush, brush, brush
Flush, flush, flush
My personal favourites are 一切 and 当 from the 爱的表白书（6册）collection. All six books are really sweet, and when I first read 一切 to Noah, I couldn’t help tearing when I came to the line, “没有你的世界，我无法想象，那将会是什么样子。” (“I cannot imagine what a world without you would be like.”) because the book captured my thoughts and feelings so accurately. The illustrations are simply beautiful, and I love how the parent-child relationship is portrayed in all the books. Some are written from the perspective of a parent, while others are from a child’s point of view. The text is short, though I must confess that I had to use the KTdict C-E (Chinese-English Dictionary) app to find out how to pronounce some of the words. Guess it isn’t just Noah who needs to learn more Chinese words!
I tried getting C to read 有时候，我特别喜欢爸爸 to Noah, without browsing through the book myself first, and quickly realised that it was an impossible task, because C’s second language in school was Malay. Some of the pages were slightly wordy (to us), and I had to consult the app to figure out how to read some of the words. I thought it was a sweet book, as it highlighted some special father-son bonding moments, like watching rugby (or in our case, soccer) together. This would make a great gift for fathers, especially when they read it together with their children.
哇哦！小猫头鹰看世界 is the Chinese translation of Tim Hopgood’s award-winning book, Wow Said the Owl. When you flip through the book, you’ll be instantly charmed by the adorable owl and beautiful illustrations. Young children will be able to relate to this curious little owl, who discovers how colourful the world is during the day, and how gorgeous the night sky can be as well. It’s also a good way to teach them about colours, and to get them to be more observant of their surroundings. Noah enjoyed looking at all the bright colours, and was quite engaged as I read it to him, so I think it’s simple enough for children who aren’t very familiar with Chinese.
If you find the cover of 独一无二的你 familiar, that’s because it’s translated from the bestselling Only One You. It conveys an important message: that there is only one you in the entire world, and that you can make a difference. We like the colourful fishes swimming across the pages, and each one is uniquely designed, to illustrate the book’s message. I’m not quite sure if Noah understood it, as he didn’t seem too keen when I read it to him, so it has been set aside for now, until he is slightly older.
If you’re looking for a good selection of Chinese books to read with your children, do check out Flip for Joy. They’ve got a special SG50 promotion, and details can be found at the end of this post. We’ve really enjoyed this set of books, as well as our previous purchases, some of which can be found in this post, so I’m pretty sure you’ll be able to find quite a few titles suitable for your children.
*Disclaimer: We received the above books from Flip for Joy for the purpose of this review. All photos and opinions are, as always, our own.
FLIP FOR JOY’S SPECIAL SG50 PROMOTION!
Look out for the special SG50 book bundles, all specially priced at $50, inclusive of complimentary courier delivery. On top of that, the first 50 customers who spend a minimum of $50 on Flip for Joy in the month of August will receive a FREE book treat (of Flip for Joy’s choice), worth at least $10. Happy shopping!
Thanks to the generosity of Flip for Joy, TWO lucky local readers of Growing with the Tans will each win a copy of 刷刷刷，刷牙啦! as well as an exclusive Singa toothbrush! To participate, simply complete the Rafflecopter widget below. Terms and conditions apply.
Terms and Conditions:
This giveaway will end on Friday, 7th August 2015, at 2359h, and is open to Singapore residents only. The winners will be contacted via the particulars provided when entering this giveaway, and will have 24 hours to respond, failing which a new winner will be selected. All incomplete entries will be disqualified, and all entries will be verified before the winner is announced. To be fair to our sponsor, please note that all fake Facebook accounts (accounts set up purely to take part in contests, with no or very few real friends), will be disqualified.
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