Book: Maisy’s Plane and Maisy’s Tractor

Some people grew up watching Sesame Street or Mickey Mouse, my kids grew up watching and reading Maisy. Not so sure how many of you actually know of this mouse.

I learned about Maisy as it was one of the recommended books for young children. I borrowed Maisy from the library and chance upon a Maisy DVD when I was shopping at Popular one day, it complimented what we were reading, so I allowed the kids to watch it once they are above 1 y.o.

I think the kids love the simple drawing and storyline of Maisy. Even my elder two (7 y.o and 6 y.o) can watch Maisy with the littlest (2 y.o.) now and still enjoy it. There are many Maisy books in the library. Today, we are sharing two of the books meant for younger kids. There are other ranges for slightly older pre-schoolers, which I hope to share in the future.

Maisy Plane - Cover
The pilot driving the aeroplane is (of course) Maisy, guess where is she going?

In “Maisy’s Plane”, Maisy is driving her aeroplane to Eddie’s (another main character) birthday party. But the emphasis on the book is definitely about transportation.

Maisy Plane - Parts
This page exposes the kid to related vocab like ‘Engine’, ‘Vroom’ and ‘Propellers’.

At this age, the kids probably wouldn’t understand what each part of the vehicle is for, but we can still expose them to the vocab and do simple explanation.

Maisy Plane - Different Vehicles
If you notice, the different characters came in different types of transport.

As you can see, the exposure on transportation is gently worked into something the kids know and can identify with, i.e. birthday party. Although there is not much words, again, there is a lot to discuss in the drawings. The littlest love to point to the different objects and name them (including the small gingerbread man), this also trains their observation skills.

If you have a child that loves transportation or you wish to expose your young kids to transportation, consider reading this book.

Maisy Tractor
Maisy is now working on a tractor.

This book is not really about the tractor, but what Maisy does in the farm using the tractor.

Maisy Tractor - Cow
Maisy milking the cow in the farm.

Well, if you are bringing your young kids to farm trips (near or far), can consider reading this book before the trip, to get the kids excited about farm as well as letting them learn more about the work of farmers.

Maisy Tractor - Numeracy
This book also have exposure on numeracy as Maisy counted her sheep.

Both books are available from the public library:

  • Library: Ang Mo Kio, Bishan, Bukit Batok, Bukit Merah, Central, Cheng San, Choa Chu Kang, Clementi, Geylang, Jurong, Jurong West, Queenstown, Serangoon, Tampines, Toa Payoh, Woodlands
  • Call Number: English COU-[BA]
  • Location: Junior Lending Picture Book
Growing with the Tans Friday Flips

Book: 这是什么队列?

They kids read this book in school and borrowed it from the library when we chanced upon it. And my interesting 7 y.o. boy decides to borrow the English version when he spotted it in Molly.

Sorry for the blur photo as the Littlest (2 y.o) was trying to snatch the book from me. He loves to point at the animals and tell me their names.

This story is about the different animals lining up for something. So what are they queuing for? Read to find out, LOL.

As you can see, the name of the animals are listed.

If your kids are really into animals, this is really useful for them to know what each animal is called. Especially when we have both the English and Chinese version, we can do a one-to-one match to know the names in Chinese. LOL.

Do you know Hyena is called 鬣狗 in Chinese?

We also love it that there are Hanyu Pinyin below some of the more complicated words to aid us in reading. Like the Hyena. And is also a book to expose the younger kids to numeracy and the concept of counting down.

There isn’t many words in this book, however, there is so much to discuss on the illustrations. The “behaviors” of the animals are shown, that allow parents to post some questions to set the kids thinking. Like “What do you think the Wolf is finding tasty?”. Reading for young children is not only about reading words, but also to examine the illustrations and stimulate their imagination.

This book is available at our Public Library. Do check it out:

  • Library: Ang Mo Kio, Bishan, Bukit Batok, Bukit Merah, Central, Cheng San, Choa Chu Kang, Clementi, Geylang East, Jurong, Jurong West, Marine Parade, Queenstown, Sembawang, Serangoon, Tampines, Toa Payoh and Woodlands
  • Call Number: Chinese OHM
  • Location: Junior Lending Picture Book
Growing with the Tans Friday Flips

Book: 一百层的房子

A house that has 100-storey, isn’t it interesting? Who live up there?

一百层的房子 is written and illustrated by Japanese author 岩井俊雄. Of course the ones we are reading has been translated to Chinese. As you would have noticed, we have a love for Japanese translated Chinese 绘本. The Japanese can tell nice and simple stories with beautiful illustration.


The story of 一百层的房子 revolves around a boy who receives an invitation to visit “somebody” at the 100-storey house. So the boy went (even though he didn’t know who invited him) and was pleasantly surprised with who live there.

wp-1487059220258.jpgSo apparently, there is a different kind of animal leaving in every 10 floors. So as he climbs the “stairs” to reach the 100-storey, he played and interacted with the different animals.

What we like is the illustrations that can tell many story. And how they are closely related to the actual behaviors of the animals. Like in the picture above, the mouse can be seen running on the wheel.

This pages also tells us about some characteristics of frogs. They need water periodically to keep their skin wet otherwise they might suffocate. Science with fiction, “Yeah” for us.

It is also interesting to note in the above pages that the concept of “recycling” is brought in. The water that the frogs uses for their bath, are piped back into the plants which produces water that goes back to their shower. It may not sound very realistic, but the main idea is there.

We have a fun time looking at the pictures and discussing about them. In engaging young children to read, particularly Chinese books, we should not be focusing only on the words. Many times, the pictures in 绘本 are telling a better story. And there is so much more to discuss. Through discussion, we enhance their observation skills, stretch their imagination and at the same time teaching them to articulate their thoughts. It would be great if the discussion is carried out in Chinese (that’s what I always attempt to do, though I’m not successful all the time. When the kids ran out of the Chinese vocab, they went back to English. I will seize the opportunity to teach them the Chinese equivalent).

One of the discussion was “Do you notice anything really different about the snake house?” which leads to “Why do you think there was no proper steps in their house?”.

The only complain I have for the book, is that it is too long! The author need to show 10 storey across two pages. So we have to hold the book vertically and read. Can be quite difficult to manage. But the concept of the house is there, and the book is specially structured that it require us to read from bottom up, just like the boy climbing up the house.

Both the elder kids (7 y.o and 5.5 y.o) love the book. I only received the book in early January and the book was so well read that it’s a little torn. The boy brings the book or the other two from the series to school for his silent reading too.


Although I got this book off Taobao, it is also available at some of our local library.
Call Number: Chinese IWA
Libraries Available: Geylang, Jurong and Sembawang

The library list is according to NLB website, which is not 100% accurate. I have come across books that are not available at the library being there. So you may want to give it a try. Otherwise, you can get it off Taobao or ezbuy if you can’t read Chinese well.

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored or paid post. I brought the books with my own money and is just adding the ezbuy link for convenience sake. I don’t receive any referral fee from them. All opinions are our own. Happy Reading!

Growing with the Tans Friday Flips

Melbourne 2014: The Nobbies and Penguin Parade, Phillip Island

When people talk about visiting Melbourne, Phillip Island always appears on the list. And when people talk about Phillip Island, the Penguin Parade is a must see. So when our family went Melbourne last year, we also paid a visit.

The Nobbies

Further down from the Penguin Parade, is this place called The Nobbies.

The Nobbies is at the tip of the island, so it offers a breathtaking view of the costal line. And according to the website, you will be able to see fur seals on the Seal Rocks. Unfortunately, when we were there in late March it wasn’t the season, so we didn’t get to see the seals.

However, while we were walking back to the car, we spotted some penguins hiding in their burrow. That was the closest encounter we have with the Penguins. And the kids were fascinated.

So if you have some time to spare, you can pay The Nobbies a visit before heading down to the Penguin Parade.

Penguin Parade

This seems to be the highlight of the island. Indeed it was a very special experience for us. Unfortunately, no photos and videos are allowed.

This is a ticketed event, and I suggest you pay for the Penguin Plus Viewing Platform. It cost more, but the experience was good. For the Penguin Plus, we were seated at a platform while waiting for the penguins to arrive. This can be quite a wait depending on what time the sun decides to set. And with kids and all, the viewing platform will be better. Besides, there are volunteers at the platform to do some background explanation to us.

Basically, the penguin parade is about the Penguins returning home after a day in the sea. In the morning, the Penguins will head out to the sea for food and also to escape the “eyes” of the predators like the eagle. And when sunset, and visibility is low, they will come out of the waters and head home. (There was a family joke when we were there. Zai was asking why the Eagles eat the Penguins. And I told him it’s because the Penguins are food for the eagle. Just like the chickens he love to eat. And the boy reply was “But I don’t eat the chicken on the floor…”. My young and innocent boy then.)

At the platform, you will be one of the first few to see the Penguins emerge from the waters. They are really cute, and when they march in a line, it’s even more adorable. You can follow the penguins on their way home. You will be walking on some build up pavement, while they march beside you. It’s a pretty close encounter. The kids likes it too. But the walk is a little long. So my young kids (4 yo and 2 yo) lost interest after a while.

As with most tourist attraction, there is a visitor center. You can find the usual souvenir shop and a cafe there. The kids had a bite before we head out for the parade. And if my memory didn’t fail me, there is a complimentary drink with our tickets.

If you have animal loving kids, then I think you shouldn’t miss this. Please visit their website for more details.

Have you visit The Nobbies or Penguin Parade before? What are your views? Share with us.

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Travel Tuesday Bumble Bee Mum

Book Review: What the ladybird heard

At the beginning of the year, I brought home a catalog for this year KidsFest and asked the boy to choose the shows he wanted to watch. I thought he would choose “We Are Going on a Bear Hunt” which is a story he is familiar with. However, he “studied” the posters and told me he wanted to watch “What the ladybird heard”.

Although we have read a few of Julia Donaldson book, we have never read this book before. But since the boy insisted, we went along. And we were glad that the boy made a terrific choice. The show was really good as they make “everyday things” into the farm animals. Both the kids enjoyed the show so much that they kept singing the songs from the play after that. I manage to find a promo video of the show on Youtube.

Last week when we visited the library, we finally manage to get our hands on one copy!

"What the ladybird heard" board book version for emergent reader.
“What the ladybird heard” board book version.

The story talks about a farm that has a hen, a goose, a duck, a horse, a hog, a sheep, a dog, two cats, a fine prize cow and a ladybird that says never a word. One day two men decides to come and steal the fine prize cow. The ladybird overheard their plan, and she came out with a brilliant plan to stop the men from stealing the cow.

Here is what we like about the book:

  • The kids loves the “sound” the animals make. It helps that the play converted it into a catchy song.
    And the cow says "Moo Moo Moo" The kids sings along when we reach pages with the animal sounds.
    And the cow says “Moo Moo Moo”
    The kids sings along when we reach pages with the animal sounds.
  • They also love looking for the ladybird throughout the book. She can be quite difficult to find in some pages.
    "Ladybird, ladybird, where are you?" Can you spot the ladybird in this page?
    “Ladybird, ladybird, where are you?”
    Can you spot the ladybird in this page?
  • I like that the book teaches the sound the animals make (although both my kids are too old for that) and directions, e.g. left, right, round the pond which is what we are teaching Zai (4 y.o) now.
  • We also love the bright and colorful drawings. And if you look at the details, you can have some funny discussion with the kids. Like Zai noticed the “poo poo” on the ground which he later observed that the bad men stepped on. We exaggerated that part, and had a fun time doing some pretend play.

On a side note, while in Australia, we kept singing this song when we see the farm animals and its poo poo. One day, Zai decided to change the lyrics to:
“And the cow says ‘poo poo poo’, and the hen says ‘poo poo poo’, ‘poo’ says the goose, ‘poo’ says the duck, ‘poo’ says the horse riding over the mud. ‘Poo’ says the hog, ‘Poo’ says the sheep, ‘Poo’ says the dog who’s falling asleep. One cat ‘poo’ while the other one ‘poo poo’. And the ladybird says… ‘Ha Ha Ha Ha’”.

If you want some fun reading time with your toddler, you can consider reading this book with them. The details of the book are as follows:

  • Author: Julia Donaldson
  • Illustrator: Lydia Monks
  • Call Number: English DON

Have you read this book before? Share with us what are your thoughts on the book. Or you have any other book that you think is suitable for Zai and Loi (2.5 y.o.), share with me here too!

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