The Peanut Fart《 花生米样的屁》by Xiaoming Wang, translated by Adam Lanphier
One day, Sheldon the Snail eats a peanut, something different from the usual fare, and passes a little gas. What appears is… well, it’s small and peanut-shaped! It follows him everywhere and the other snails laugh at him. "You’re a Fart Father!", they tease. Sheldon’s not happy, so he bottles the fart and sends it downstream. But his worry overtakes him - will the fart be alright? He rushes after it and ends up on an adventure. A little rude, a little funny, a lot sensitive. It’s sure to tickle your little one’s sense of exploration while never slackening the tension.
Teaches: Use of phrases to indicate ‘increasing’, ‘luckily’, ‘because’ and ‘although’.
Who Wants Candied Hawberries?《冰糖葫芦，谁买?》By Dongni Bao, illustrated by Di Wu, translated by Adam Lamphier
The streets are filled with people selling candied hawberries. With so much competition, how will an old man sell his stock? He needs to buy medicine. Luckily a group of children show up… wearing tails. Tails? Fashion these days sure is strange. A quirky, quiet story, muffled by the snow, tapping into Chinese mythology. It just goes to show a little bit of magic can happen in the smallest and most ordinary of places and even the most humble creatures know kindness.
Teaches: Sentence structures such as "if this… then that" and "as long as", as well as counting words.
Purple《紫》by Wang Chu Qiao, illustrated by Cai Lixian (no pinyin)
None of the other colours want to be Blue’s friend. Not the warm colours, nor the neutrals. What’s a colour to do? Won’t anyone be his friend? Blue begins to despair until Red comes along, but there are still hurdles to cross. Simply but adorably illustrated in watercolour, local author Wang Chu Qiao brings a simple tale of alienation and wanting to fit in. Purple questions whether it’s worth changing yourself for friendship, and whether we should abandon safety for diversity.
Teaches: A lot of talking points for this touching story.
Looking for more? In our rummagings to find these great books, we were excited to stumble across Candied Plums, a Seattle and Beijing-based publishing company. They publish Mandarin picture books not just with an English translation, but with pinyin and a helpful vocab list at the back of the book. The Chinese Corner (available on their website) also provides a recording of each book read in Mandarin that you can download for free, as well as a short language lesson on what each book can teach. We’ve included some of their books in the list above but feel free to check out the rest of their books on their website; www.candiedplums.com