Age: 5+ with parent, 7+ independent
This set of books was first published in the 1980’s and now has grown to a whopping 55 books. The style in there is a mixture of bridge, comics, and picture book format. Words are easy to read, not a lot of hard idioms and it’s all humor. It’s something that would be great for reluctant readers for longer books. This makes them a great bridge book. Are you get to get OUT OF THIS WORLD literature from here? No. However, you’re going to get some laughs coming out from your kids and get your child to read independently if they like the content.
I have to admit my “girls” didn’t love it at first. I am guessing they didn’t love the 80’s Japanese style use of color tones on the illustrations. We stopped after reading 2-3 books. However, I think the magic number was 5? After letting it sit there for another year, I took it out again and they read another 2-3 and this time, they were really enjoying it. This is also after they’ve read many many comic books. Now they understand “humor” and so now they really like these books. Therefore, I have acquired a total of 45 books now? I may buy the rest of the 10 just for the sake of a complete collection.
Do you need to buy 55 books? That’s really up to what types of books your child reads! This set is SUPER SUPER SUPER popular in Asia! Most parents and children have either read at least a few or the whole set and definitely know of this set. In fact, if you’ve haven’t read it, I think you’d miss out on some chat topics among the children there in Asia. I know many children here in the states who have read the ENTIRE set… MULTIPLE times… yes… that’s 50+ books… multiple times. With that, it may be your best investment in terms of how many times a book is used.
Is it all fun and games in there that’s useless? Absolutely not. Why?
- There’s a lot of imagination in there. How are machines created, what goes behind a well made monster, etc. All the crazy ideas in there are nicely illustrated for you to see in every book.
- You get a couple idioms in there.
- It forces you to read without zhuyin since about 15-20% of the text in there is done without zhuyin. I think this was very intentional. You get the child hooked in the story and write some stuff without zhuyin and they’ll try to figure out what it wrote and unconsciously, you’ll be learning more characters.
- There are many phrases and terms that are not used in daily conversational mandarin. The exposure to these is valuable.
- This is a bonus but some allergic to reading lots of Chinese words may suddenly read independently through this set (what I’ve seen from other families).
Should you get this set if your child is already reading fluently in Chinese? It’ll depend on your own preference and goals. We have a ton of comics (not considered world class literature) but I buy them! I think all forms of reading is good reading. We have magazines, comics. newspapers, serious literature, light literature, nonfiction, picture books for kids, picture books for adults… you name it, I probably have it, lol. I want my children to have good laughs as well as appreciate beautifully written literature. I grew up with comics and I can’t deprive my children of the same.
There are DVDs by the way…. some parents let their children watch the cartoon after the books to give them a treat OR watch some cartoons before giving them the book so it gets them hooked. Either way you want your child to start reading that’s fine! LOL
I don’t have the DVDs so cannot tell you if my children would like them. However, I think you can probably find some sample clips on youtube.
Here are some pictures from the inside: