The Mother Tongue Language Festival, organised by the National Library, is held between 6 and 13 September 2014. So it is an opportune time to review some good-quality Chinese picture books, originally written in English, Japanese or French.
Age Range: 5 years and above
Chinese standard: Easy to Intermediate
It’s a Book!, written by award-winning author-cum-illustrator Lane Smith, is about a book loving monkey, a tech savvy jackass and a straight talking little mouse. This book has been translated to over 20 languages.
The jackass simply does not get it. He asks, “Can it [the book] scroll down?
Can it blog? Can it tweet? Can it text? Can it play back music? Can you play games with it? Do you need a password?” The monkey replies to every question, “No, you can’t”, but the jackass’ curiosity grows. He ends up reading the book and refuses to return it to the monkey. At the end of the story, the jackass still doesn’t get it.
My Thoughts – A very clever, satirical concept
Brilliantly conceived and a hilarious read. Today many children are familiar with ebooks, ibook, digital books, interactive books and computer games but are clueless about hardback and paperback books. This makes a perfect gift for screen-obsessed children. My K2 nephew finds the story funny and the jackass silly even though he does not fully grasp some of the concepts such as blogging [写博客], text [短信] and wifi [无线上网]. But he gets the story. He is no jackass. Phew!