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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on June 20, 2005
The video has a two major defects:

1. Bad pedagogy--the new chinese words are presented to children in sentences, instead of word-by-word or in phrases. So a child hears long strings of sound (which I guess they are just supposed to memorize!) with few clues about what each word means--or even where one word ends and another begins.

2. Poor animation (animation, of course, is always less effective than seeing a native speaker's mouth as you hear them pronounce--but the cartoons could have been used to capture children's attention: they don't.).

We purchased this video at the same time as the first Learn Chinese with Jade! video and found that to be an excellent introduction.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on January 18, 2005
Billy and Benboo is a very charming introduction to Mandarin Chinese. As a Taiwanese American, I am very keen on exposing my 3-year old (who is half Irish) to Mandarin Chinese as often as possible.

There are not a lot of quality Chinese learning products in the market, so I'm glad I found this DVD on Amazon. My daughter loves watching this DVD. Her favorite character is Billy's cute Shih Tzu "Benboo". While she already speaks a little Chinese, watching this DVD seems to inspire her to speak more. She even tries to sing along with the songs (though they tend to be a little fast).

I appreciate that some of the voices on the DVD appear to have a Taiwanese accent and others have mainland Chinese accents. Most of the audio and video products I've seen focus on mainland Chinese pronunciation, but I feel demonstrating pronunciations from different regions would be beneficial to beginners.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on January 14, 2005
My wife is from Beijing and is fluent in Mandarin. We purchased this tape for our son and were very disappointed with the inconsistencies of the speakers in correctly pronouncing the vocabulary. The pronunciation and tones were off in close to a third of the video. Although this video teaches vocabulary, it does not do a good job of teaching the correct pronunciation of the words.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on March 23, 2004
I watched both the level 1 and level 2 videos with my American-born elementry school nephew and pre-school niece.
The video was appealing to them because it's like a cartoon video. The scenes in the video are very visual and focused, it's directly related to the dialog, so it's very easy for children to understand what the video is teaching.
The music and songs in the video are also great! I love the tunes, they are very catchy. The children learned it really fast, and soon they are singing along.
I also like the fact that the song lyrics are made up of phrases from the teaching material, and repeat itself over and over. This helps the children to learn through repeatition.
My nephew and niece are both attending private after school program to learn Chinese. I saw far more progress after watching the videos for few weeks, than they going to 1-1/2 years of language school. Plus if I watch the video with the kids, I know exactly what was taught in the video, it's much easier for me to start practcing with them. As oppose to going to the language school, which I have no idea what they are teaching, therefore it's hard for me to start a conversation in Chinese with them.
Also the materials from the video are related to things we would normally encounter in real life, so there are many occasions to take the opportunity to practice the vocabularies.
Lastly, the story of all the videos are centered around Billy and BenBoo, the two main characters, and their family, so you'll be familiar with the characters after the first video, and easy to move on to the next. I especially love the adorable dog Ben Boo, he's so playful and brings so much energy!
Thanks Language Tree for making learning so much fun!!! I can't wait to see the next video!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on March 20, 2005
I am very disappointed after watching the first two scenes with my daughter. The songs are not helpful at all and are sung by people who don't know how to speak Chinese! The pronunciation in the songs is just awful. And the animation is of very low quality.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on March 12, 2004
With my eight year old son and infant daughter, I reviewed "Mandarin Chinese Beginning Level 1" presented by Language Tree. What amazes me the most is they make the language learning process entertaining, rather than the traditional way of "pain".

Several songs throughout the video make the whole process fun! Literally, you can dance with the songs while you and your children are learning - that's what I did with my kids. The short sentences are easy to follow, and for every scene you get a quick review on what you just learned. The multiple story sessions are situations you bump into daily. It is amazing that all of the above is packed in just 30 minutes! I am waiting for Language Tree's next video to be produced.

Martin Liu
Activity Director (School Years 2003 - 2005)
Board of San Diego Chinese Academy
La Jolla, California
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on January 25, 2005
This introductory video to Mandarin Chinese has been extremely well thought out, planned and produced.

The use of cartoon characters easily captured and engaged my little girl and made this video an enjoyable experience for her. The teaching methods used are brief and to the point, making learning fun and effortless.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on March 12, 2004
With my eight year old son and infant daughter, I reviewed "Mandarin Chinese Beginning Level 1" presented by Language Tree. What amazes me the most is they make the language learning process entertaining, rather than the traditional way of "pain".

Several songs throughout the video make the whole process fun! Literally, you can dance with the songs while you and your children are learning - that's what I did with my kids. The short sentences are easy to follow, and for every scene you get a quick review on what you just learned. The multiple story sessions are situations you bump into daily. It is amazing that all of the above is packed in just 30 minutes! I am waiting for Language Tree's next video to be produced.

Martin Liu...
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on July 4, 2005
Chinese is undoubtedly a useful language for children to learn (probably the most useful in the coming years). However, it is also difficult to learn because of the different tones for words - the same syllable pronounced with a different tone would have a different meaning. Learn Chinese with Billy and Benboo tackles this difficult topic in a very creative and easy-to-follow manner using simple sounds that are already familiar to children. Overall, I found the DVD made learning Chinese accessible to non-native families. Both my adopted Chinese daughters and I were able to follow the simple words and phrases quite easily.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on March 24, 2005
I've been studing China for a school project so I decided to try and learn the language. This video makes learning really fun, the songs I love to play over and over. They have a great beat and stick with you. I'm now able to say several phrases and plan to use them in my oral presentation to the class.
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