Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Chinese New Year celebrations continue with two utterly fabulous new dual-language books - "The Story of the New Year Beast" and "Naughty Monkey" from Snowflake Books

It's the Year of the Monkey and as Chinese New Year continues, we've been looking at two brilliant books from a publisher new to us.

Snowflake Books are Oxfordshire-based and publish some truly stunning dual language books. We have been enjoying "Naughty Monkey" by Xue Lin and Zhan Zhi Qui, which tells the traditional tale of the King of the Monkeys. This mischievous giant monkey hears tales of a race involving all the animals of the ancient world. The Chinese New Years will be named for each of the animals with the first year honour going to the winner of the race.

Monkey puts aside his tricks and mischief to go all-out to win the race, but when he loses, Monkey becomes angry and causes even more chaos and devastation than before!

Will Monkey ever learn from his mistakes when he's captured and chained to the bottom of the river?

"Naughty Monkey" feels instantly fresh and original to folk who may not have been lucky enough to have encountered the original traditional Chinese stories, and it's absolutely fantastic to see the range in dual-language so children can begin to learn the shapes and pronunciation of key words in the tale.

There's also a bonus that this lavish hardback book comes with an accompanying CD so children can enjoy an entertaining retelling of the tale as well.

There's more Chinese New Year storytelling in the next book we're taking a look at. Written again by Xue Lin but this time illustrated by Jin Jie Ye, "The Story of The New Year Beast" tells the tale of a huge and angry monster that descends from the mountains every new year to devour the entire village's supplies.

The villagers have had enough - and with the aid of a mysterious old man they formulate a plan to repel the beast and thus we learn why firecrackers are set off every Chinese New Year - to ward off evil spirits and ring in the new year in style!

Once again the story comes accompanied with a story CD and dual language text in both English and Mandarin to help children learn key phrases and words.

Luscious and colourful artwork (as with "Naughty Monkey") means that even the youngest readers will love these fantastic books.

You can find out more about both "Naughty Monkey" and "The Story of the New Year Beast" on the Snowflake Books website. Both are out now in Hardback.

Charlotte's favourite bit: When the giant monkey rises from the deep after being released by a fisherman.

Daddy's favourite bit: Both books are superb quality, beautifully presented written and illustrated and it's such a fantastic idea to give children interesting and fresh stories to help them learn some core language skills.

(Kindly sent to us for review by Snowflake Books)

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