I have a weakness for children’s travel books. Alright, I’m always wanderlusting and since we are staying in Singapore this holiday, books are my next best option to travel and see the world! Reading gives us a place to go when we have to stay where we are, right?
These 2 books are part of the 小小旅行家丛书 (Little Traveller Series) which features a total of 11 cities (Paris, Tokyo, Rome, London, New York, Sydney, Stockholm, Madrid, Scotland, Berlin and Madrid) and 1 country (France), translated from ABC Melody’s two series of books Viens Voir Ma Ville (Come To See My City) Series and Hello Kids. Each book from these series takes on the perspective of a child from the featured city who introduces their usual routine, landscapes, history, culture, customs, food, architecture and the etc of the city they live in. It is aptly described as a human geography picture book (人文地理图画书), which appeals to the geography teacher in me! To ensure a more authentic cultural reflection, each book is penned and illustrated by different authors and illustrators who have lived or studied in the featured city. What makes these books even more fun is the availability of audio guide of each book (in the language of the original version) on ABC Melody’s website and iBooks for some selections.
Besides the illustrations and the cultural aspects of the original, what I really enjoy about the Chinese version is that the texts are beautifully descriptive, definitely an exciting way to improve on Chinese narrative and descriptions as you travel virtually. To quote an example: 这是一座区有魅力的城市，又古老的历史建筑、宏伟的博物馆、气派的大商店、让人流口水的餐馆、风景如画的公园，还有形态各异的大桥. These are very very useful writing devices for school-going children to apply in their Chinese compositions.
C is only 2yo. How would I use this book?
I would say this series of books is most suited for children aged 6yo and above. Most pages are rather wordy, more suited for proficient readers. For a start, I would use them as a picture book at this stage for open discussion, to introduce C to the sights and colours of each city. As she gets more proficient in Chinese, we would use them with more focus on the language. If we are visiting any of these cities during our family holidays, they will definitely be read over and over again!
This is a highly recommended travel book series in Chinese and I definitely can’t wait to complete the entire collection!