Chinese Children’s Favorite Stories
Kindergarten-Grade 2-A collection of 13 traditional "thousand-year-old" stories. In her introduction, Yip fondly acknowledges her father’s role as family storyteller as the inspiration for this book. Some stories will be familiar, such as "The Mouse Bride," though this version is a little different from Lida Dijkstra’s Little Mouse (Front St, 2004) and Ed Young’s Mouse Match (Harcourt, 1997). Other selections include traditional Chinese elements such as dragons and the mischievous monkey king. Like fables, these tales have morsels of wisdom to impart, and almost all have a close connection with the natural world. Explanations of cultural elements are nicely incorporated into the text, such as the qin, a musical instrument. Yip’s writing is clear and accessible to children, and the bright pastel illustrations are appealing. An attractive addition for larger collections
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Get lost in Chinese Culture...
Get pulled into the Chinese culture through Mingmei Yip’s book, “Chinese Children’s Favorite Stories”. This book a collection of thirteen tales that she was told as a young child. The stories are only a few pages long with bright and detailed illustrations. Morals are taught through talking animals, emperors, goddesses, and much more in this book fit for all ages.
This would be a great book to introduce Chinese culture into the classroom. A lot of the animals in the stories are important to Chinese culture, such as the monkey, the illustrations show authentic Chinese-style drawings, and within the drawings you will discover beautiful landscapes, colorful dragons, and even traditional clothing.
In our reading series we focus a lot on theme, main idea, character traits, and types of texts such as folk tales. This would be a perfect way to incorporate all of those things. Since there are thirteen stories, I may read one a day and have the students dig deep into each story by having them help figure out the main idea of each story, the character traits we read of and infer, as well as the theme. The theme would really be my main focus since all of these stories help teach lessons to educate children to cultivate moral wisdom and to do good deeds. After we had read the entire book, I would have the students compare and contrast some of our traditional folktales to those in Mingmei’s book. The students could complete a graphic organizer (Venn Diagram) then use that information to write a paragraph(s) about the similarities and differences of not only the folk tales, but the culture as well.
I would highly recommend this book to anyone wanting to learn more about and share the Chinese culture.
Review of Chinese Children's Favorite Stories
As the author, Mingmei Yip, describes in a prologue, the stories in this book are those told to her as a small child. The book contains 13 stories, each only a few pages long, with nice illustrations. Many of the stories focus on animals (e.g., mice, frogs, wolf, water buffalo, fox, tiger, and monkeys), but they are fairy tales at their very essence.
The illustrations do a wonderful job showing fantasy (e.g., not drawn to "look real"), but show Chinese culture. The mountains, dragons, clothing, parasols, modes of transportation, buildings, bridges -- everything! -- introduce young learners to China without them even realizing that they are learning about a different culture. The stories, too, are captivating and charming -- and short! The pictures take up most of the page, but are placed in such a way that one feels the variety of the stories.
My fourth grade son read this book and liked it. He immediately began comparing familiar European-based fairy-tales to those in this book. This is a GREAT way to do cross-cultural studies with children. Additionally, reading these stories could be part of a social studies (e.g., geography, culture, economics) lesson while meeting common core standards.
One more idea for the use of this book is to use it in tandem with Japanese Children's Favorite Stories (also reviewed) for students to compare and contrast values, dress, and storytelling styles. Of course, including additional international tales would enrich this idea even moreso.