From Publishers Weekly
Lee's (At the Beach; In the Snow) word and number primer has all the festive ebullience of a Chinese New Year's dragon. Each cream-colored, double-page spread serves as a backdrop for elegant, boldly-colored cut paper figures, a punchy number-verb combination and the appropriate Chinese characters. For "Three hit," a trio of children in ethnic costumes play drums beneath the graceful boughs of a tree; for "Nine kick," a band of leaping, shouting, red-belted martial arts students punch the air with their legs. Old and new blend subtly and gracefully: in most spreads, the children wear modern-day clothes, but occasionally their stylized expressions and poses (especially in the spread for "Six pull," which shows a group attempting to land a huge fish) evoke a much older and exotic visual tradition. For older children, the introductory pages offer a Mandarin Chinese pronunciation guide and some fascinating etymology: for example, Lee explains that the written Chinese for the words "kick," "run" and "jump" are all based on the basic character for "foot." Youngsters will love finding the hidden words within words and trying their hand at writing them. Ages 4-9. (Jan.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Ages 4-6. In this introduction to Chinese numbers and simple vocabulary, Lee effectively displays boldly contrasted cut-paper shapes on stark white backgrounds. Glossaries at the book's beginning and end present the Chinese characters for the words used and numbers one through ten, along with the English translations and a transliteration of the pronunciation in the Mandarin Chinese dialect. After an author's note explains the theory behind Chinese characters, each cleanly designed double-page spread illustrates a two-word phrase consisting of a number and a verb, while children portray the verb's action: "One catches" depicts one girl netting a butterfly; "Four push" shows four youngsters pushing large snowballs; and "Nine kick" features nine youths leaping in a karate style kick. With masterful simplicity, Lee leads readers to a preliminary appreciation of Chinese culture. Ellen Mandel
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