Learning a new language with Snowflake Books

Snowflake Books’ stories are drawn from ancient Chinese fairytales, they are translations, carefully researched and traditionally illustrated with texts in English and Mandarin, with Pinyin to help pronounciation and selected books even have a CD to listen along.

I was drawn to their books because J’s aunt lives in Shanghai and J and I are both very interested in Chinese traditions and festivals. I thought it would be nice for us to read something together that we could both learn from.  Although the stories are recommended from 5 years plus, J is an adventurous girl and a lover of fantasy stories so we found the books were a good fit for where she is at with her learning, and as she grows she will pick up more of the Mandarin too.

We read The Dragon Princess and the Five Flower Horse. The Dragon Princess, written and illustrated by Jin Jie Ye is a story I am familiar with, but the illustrations really bring it to life! FullSizeRender3

It’s a magical fable, a love story about the dragon princess who lives a wretched life with her husband, she is saved by a kindly stranger who takes a message to her father the dragon king, and the kindly stranger is well rewarded for his bravery and kind act and is reunited with the princess at the end of the tale.

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The Five Flower Horse by Xue Lin and Jian Zhi Qiu is a story about following your heart and your dreams, it’s about a warhorse who loves to dance, if only life were that simple, he must practice and hone his skills to prove himself as a dancer in the face of his disapproving family; he is such a great dancer that the birds and the butterflies come to see him and he is chosen as the emperors best dancing horse.

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Both stories are a delight to read and are beautifully illustrated in vibrant watercolours and with great expression.  The text is just the right size to keep an early reader’s interest; I loved the colour coded words highlighted for practice on each page, with pinyin below, it makes for really easy reading and visualisation.

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J is delighted with these stories and even more delighted to know the word for ‘horse’ in Mandarin (mǎ)!  I wholeheartedly recommend Snowflake Books to inquisitive readers and parents who are interested to share their love of other cultures with their little ones.

Please note, these books were sent to us for review purposes, all views are my own

Migloo’s Day Review: a search and find story book

One of our ‘must haves’ in a reading book is the ‘can you spot’ factor – “can you find a ladybird on every page?” J absolutely loves anything like this, and she’s really good at spotting things too.

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Migloo’s Day is perfect for mini-spotters then, a search and find story book by William Bee with oodles of things to find.

The beauty of this book is that the story is delightful, much like the illustrations, as so many search and find books are just that, without the story. Migloo the dog’s day much like ours revolves around delicious foods, he has a great day out taking in lots of places, vehicles and hidden animals and objects, and enjoys lots of delicious treats along the way; when the school bus breaks down it’s Migloo to the rescue and I wont spoil the surprise but yes, his day ends with more food!

There are at least three ‘can you spots’ on each page, and then when you turn to the back of the book there are more clues and more puzzles making suggestions for things to look out for on each page. We started by looking for Migloo amongst the Sunnytown spreads, then did the activities on each page and we’re still looking for the last of the 27 footballs now!

This is the kind of book we’ll keep coming back to, as J will grow into it and get better acquainted with the characters (there must be over 50 of them, hard for her to keep track of at this stage but I love books that grow with her!) and I’m pleased to see that Migloo’s Adventure is also available, as we loved Migloo’s Day so much!

See you soon Migloo!

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Note: we were sent a copy of this book to give our opinion on the story, this Migloo’s Day Review is our honest view of the book in our own words