Age: 3+ with parent 5+ independent (with zhuyin)
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I really love this set of books for the holidays coming up including New Years. I was never attracted to the book covers on this set but I bought it anyway because I haven’t found anything I really loved in terms of telling stories to children about the different holidays we have throughout the year. This set of books I like because:
- Provides a lot of detail in each story.
- Well written by famous authors.
- Stories are actually interesting!
- Nicely spaced out lines and perfect for children to read on their own for bridge books.
I have many… many… many… other sets of picture books and books on holidays and the best ones of course are written about Chinese New Year. My struggle comes with the other holidays… they are either too basic, inaccurate, or too hard for the kids to understand. This one is done so that both children and adults have a great time reading together and that’s the most important to me. There are a couple sets that also have “choppy” stories because they try to achieve too much in one 40 page picture book and makes the story very uninteresting. However, this is a bridge book and the stories are very very well laid out and written. It even has a seasonal time chart that Chinese use and I love that. In the beginning of each book, it also gives the parents a background of why each story is important, how it originated, and how it relates to the holiday. This way you can explain to your child WHY we’re reading this. In the back of the book, it has the chart of the 24 periods of time that the Chinese use to calculate the time of the year they’re in.
You’ll hear an example story in the video above and how it’s laid out. I talk about the story of the New Years Monster (?). For a lack of a better word, I put monster. Chinese books usually just say the monsters come out during Chinese New Years and to scare them away, we put out things they’re afraid of like the color red, fire, loud sounds, etc. In the story, it says the monster is actually not fierce and not a violent or aggressive animal. Instead, they come out during winter because they’re undergoing a growing up test in the monster community. If they can come out and spend a night outside on their own in the coldest weather, then they become a real grown monster in that community. It’s kind of cute. The humans and monsters have a huge misunderstanding! Monsters were afraid humans would eat them and humans were afraid the monsters would eat them.
These monsters actually eat plants. The man in the story at first wanted to let his village know that the monsters are not threatening to human life but then stopped himself because what if people really did hunt these animals down and ate them? So to keep peace, the man decided to let the people know he met a monster and it was afraid of red, fire, and loud noises and then kept that tradition for New Years so that both monsters and humans can continue avoiding each other. It’s a pretty cute story and my children really really really loved this story. There were others stories in here that we read that they loved too. I think it’s a great set to have, whip out and read before holidays and re-read each year.
The language in there is hard for smaller kids (under 5) to understand fully but with some reading with parents, they will understand everything that’s going on. Kids in first to third grade reading level will have no trouble reading this on their own. Those who know zhuyin will find it good practice as a bridge set. Here are some sample pages:
My older one reading this …