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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great way to build a foundation..., September 19, 2009
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This review is from: Adventures in Mandarin Chinese: The Fox and The Goat (English and Mandarin Chinese Edition) (Paperback)
I've tried quite a few of the ### Chinese characters books and while I did everything I was supposed to, they didn't really stick. I'm studying on my own, so opportunities to use the written language are hard to come by. This book really makes up for that.

I got through this book after about three weeks and I learned not only the characters, but now have a much better feel for sentence structure and phrasing. It may not be 100% useful in conversation, but it's a huge help.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly Effective Technique to Successfully Learn to Read Chinese, April 7, 2009
This review is from: Adventures in Mandarin Chinese: The Fox and The Goat (English and Mandarin Chinese Edition) (Paperback)
This book will enable the motivated reader to master about 125 Chinese characters. With this knowledge, the person will be able to read the tale about the Fox and the Goat written entirely in Chinese characters at the end of the book. This book is an excellent beginning text for anyone who desires to learn and read Chinese and will improve their overall knowledge of Chinese culture. Essentially, the cultural ideas related to Chinese life and experience serve as the basis for the Chinese characters themselves. The following example from the book will illustrate this point. The word "escape" is pictured as a runner with a trail of dust following behind him. Through progression the author literally provides a visual picture of how the main idea of a word is converted into a Chinese character. This technique reinforces the meaning of the character and provides the idea which the character represents.

Another theme in this book is that practice is the key to learning and retaining the meaning of each character. As someone who has benefited from reading this book and who has mastered the ability to read the story about the Fox and Goat in Chinese I can attest that this learning technique is effective and will lead to a successful outcome. Each time I learned a new character, I also repeated the previous lessons and reinforced learning and recalling the meaning of the characters. Rereading the passages provides new insights with each reading. Keep in mind, this is not a book to be read like a novel. It is a resource and reference book, a book of lessons, which needs to be read more than once to achieve maximum benefits. Book reviewed by T.J. Borsos and Erika Borsos [pepper flower]
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More Than A Language Study Course, May 9, 2009
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This review is from: Adventures in Mandarin Chinese: The Fox and The Goat (English and Mandarin Chinese Edition) (Paperback)
For those who have enjoyed Sam Song's previous books introducing his manner of instructing Western readers on the discovery of ADVENTURES IN MANDARIN CHINESE Volume 1 (The Fox and the Goat) may be no surprise. Sam Song has polished his skills for communicating the visual development of Chinese characters so that not only may the serious reader begin to learn to read Mandarin Chinese be the end of this book, but will also have enjoyed the journey through which Song take us. His asides are clever, smart, amusing and maintain the readers attention throughout.

What makes Song's technique enjoyable in addition to being instructive is the choices he makes in explaining the development of each Chinese character. Each stroke of the brush that creates these little 'art works' has a developmental history drawn out by Song in a way that is informative while making remembering that character a surety.

Song's final guidance through the story gives the reader a sense of achievement, and while this may not serve to prepare the reader for a comprehensive course in Chinese, it is a healthy beginning! Grady Harp, May 09
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Chinese can be easy, November 4, 2010
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This review is from: Adventures in Mandarin Chinese: The Fox and The Goat (English and Mandarin Chinese Edition) (Paperback)
Sam Song's three books Learning Chinese the Easy Way, Adventures in Mandarin Chinese, and Learning Chinese through Song are a great way to start writing in Chinese characters. The author tells short stories showing bit by bit how the Chinese characters were developed. He shows how each character evolved from its origin to its present representation. This helps the reader make sense of the characters and memorize them. The book even offers practice sheets to figure out the correct way to write some of the more difficult characters. I found myself absolutely absorbed in these books and I couldn't wait to actually read and write the stories all by myself. These books are great for all ages. My mom enjoyed them too. I would most definitely recommend it to a friend eager to learn Chinese.

-Isabella Brody
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book for Learning Mandarin Chinese, August 2, 2010
This review is from: Adventures in Mandarin Chinese: The Fox and The Goat (English and Mandarin Chinese Edition) (Paperback)
Mr. Song, author of Adventures in Mandarin Chinese: The Fox and The Goat (Volume 1) has written a book that will be helpful for any student of the Chinese language. The author explains how Chinese characters are considered words in themselves. "A Chinese character represents a complete concept just like English words do." There is a chart included so that readers can practice the writing of Chinese characters. He recommends that the reader write each character three times to help with memory. There are also audio files for download at the author's site to help with practicing enunciation and pronunciation. I recommend this book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great for beginners, but significant overlap with the other level 1 book, February 5, 2012
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This review is from: Adventures in Mandarin Chinese: The Fox and The Goat (English and Mandarin Chinese Edition) (Paperback)
Memorizing characters was and is the most difficult part of learning Chinese for me, and I found it extremely tedious to rote memorize them. Through this book, I have learned so many characters effortlessly and quickly. I also found it fascinating to learn about the origins of many characters and their components.

One gripe I have with this book is that its contents significantly overlap with the other level 1 book by Sam Song. Still, I give the book 5 stars.

EDIT 2/6/2012: I was just informed that a newer edition of this book, found here http://www.amazon.com/Learning-Chinese-Easy-Way-Level/dp/1467918695/ref=dp_ob_title_bk addresses the overlap.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not a course in itself, but a wonderful way gain a sense of Mandarin grammar, June 5, 2013
By 
John P. House (St. Louis MO USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Adventures in Mandarin Chinese: The Fox and The Goat (English and Mandarin Chinese Edition) (Paperback)
The story is entertaining, and the grammar is realistic. This book advanced my sense of how Mandarin grammar is "put together" and how Mandarin speakers manage their topics.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Much better for beginners than the "Chinese Breeze" series, January 21, 2012
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This review is from: Adventures in Mandarin Chinese: The Fox and The Goat (English and Mandarin Chinese Edition) (Paperback)
This book takes you character-by-character through a simple Chinese fable about a fox and a goat. For each character, the traditional and simplified forms are shown, as well as the stroke order and an explanation how why the character looks the way it does. You will learn about 112 words in this book, stroke orders, pinyin, as well as a learning a classic Chinese fable. When you finish this book, it feels great knowing you have actually read a story in Chinese.

I had previously attempted to read the "Chinese Breeze" books, however, they were far too advanced for my level. If you are just starting to learn Chinese, I highly recommend this book series. I will definitely be looking for other books by this author.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good for beginners, June 8, 2011
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This review is from: Adventures in Mandarin Chinese: The Fox and The Goat (English and Mandarin Chinese Edition) (Paperback)
i've studied a couple Mandarin books, and this is great all around. provides good basic understanding of grammer structure, gives pronunciation guide, and even stroke order for characters. definitely more well rounded book than most guides you can get. entertaining story also. i remembered first couple sentences and showed a native Mandarin speaker what i had written and he said the writing was done correctly and that he knew the story as well. good way to learn basics of language.
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5.0 out of 5 stars I can read (a little) Chinese, April 9, 2011
This review is from: Adventures in Mandarin Chinese: The Fox and The Goat (English and Mandarin Chinese Edition) (Paperback)
If you're anything like me, Chinese characters have always seemed very exotic and mysterious, but so different from the alphabet we're used to that it seemed like it would be an impossible task to ever figure them out. I have several artwork pieces like wall hangings and plates that have Chinese characters along with pictures and those characters seem like part of the art itself. Who would even know where to start to try and learn what they mean? Well, this book, "Adventures in Mandarin Chinese Volume 1" is a great introduction to written Chinese and it's easy and fun to learn.

Sam Song starts off with explanations of traditional and simplified Chinese characters, writing and memorizing them, and then begins with a few words that are part of a simple children's story. He explains that contextual learning is important and one of the best ways to learn Chinese. He shows how the characters evolve from a simple drawing to the words that they represent. He also gives a link for audio files that you can download from his website so you not only see the word, but can hear it as well. Although some of the characters look very intricate, he shows through simple numbered drawings, how you would write each character. Shown this way, it doesn't look all that intimidating and I was surprised to see myself writing Chinese sentences (and understanding what they meant) in a very short time.

The print and characters in the book are large and easy to read, even the English explanations. That's important when you're learning and some of the tiniest little lines can change the meaning of a character. Mr. Song's explanations are also simple and direct. He writes in a friendly manner with lots of encouragement. He seems to anticipate some of the questions you might have and explains them in an easy manner as you go along.

One of the things I found that was really cool, that in addition to the audio downloads on his website, you can check out translations under Google and put in English sentences and not only see the Chinese characters, but click on a audio recording or see a phonectic translation. It was pretty exciting to see that I could already read some of the words learned in Mr. Song's book and then add a different word and learn that.

The thing I liked best about the book was that when I was finished, I could read a simple children's story in both simplified and traditional Chinese! Given, it is only a short story, about a paragraph long, but this is the language that up until now looked so impossibly exotic and complicated that I never dreamed I'd be able to do such a thing. Two thumbs up for this great introduction to the Chinese language!
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Adventures in Mandarin Chinese: The Fox and The Goat (English and Mandarin Chinese Edition)
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