NOTICE: I was given a free copy of this book by the author in exchange for an honest review, which reads as follows:
Title: Santa and the Christmas Dragon
Author: Amanda Roberts
Illustrator: Cherith Vaughan
Translator: Yaqian Gong
Lineart: Ruth Silbermayr-Song
Publisher: Two Americans in China Press
Release Date: September 1st 2016
Genre: Children’s Book
Ming the Christmas Dragon
Helped Santa pull his sleigh.
She brought Christmas to China.
Once upon a time, Santa brought Christmas to China. But how did that happen? Thanks to a little dragon named Ming, Santa, the elves, and all the reindeer are able to learn about Chinese culture and gain the friendship of mighty dragons to help spread Christmas cheer throughout the world!
This beautiful bilingual children’s book – presented in English, Chinese characters, and Chinese pinyin – is sure to delight readers young and old as they learn about spreading holiday cheer and learning about other cultures!
很久很久以前, 圣诞老人将圣诞节带到了中国, 他是怎么做到的呢? 这要感谢一条叫做明的小龙, 圣诞老人, 小精灵, 和驯鹿. 他们学习中国文化, 获取了大龙的友谊, 将圣诞节日的喜悦传播到全世界.
这本美妙的双语儿童书—由英文, 中文汉字, 中文拼音组成. 可以让老少读者一起感受分享节日的喜悦, 并学习到他国的文化!
My First Thoughts:
I’m always looking for children’s books to review just because they brighten up my day and not enough sites review them. But I thought that this story would get me into the Christmas mood and I was curious as to see how this story unfolded.
The first thing I’m gonna do is geek out a little bit and start out with some trivia. The average human has an easier time learning a second language before their teenage years. After they become a teenager the language centers of their brains start to become more rigid making it harder for them to learn a second language, that’s why it’s difficult to retain any Spanish (or whatever second language you took) after high school or college. However, if a child learned a second language before their teenage years it is easier for them to learn more languages, even after they become an adult. Sure, maybe you’ve retained a few choice words in another language (I myself swear in Italian from time to time after playing Assassin’s Creed) but most people cannot speak the language fluently or even semi-fluently if they learned it after becoming a teenager.
With all that said, I was tickled pink to see the Chinese words and characters written a long side the English words. It was so interesting to see how English translated into Chinese and how different they looked side-by-side. And I could definitely see how useful this book would be if a parent were thinking about teaching their children Chinese, or if they wanted to teach them English. Seeing the translations together and the teaching that could be done with it adds an extra element to this story that not many children’s books have.
The story itself is really cute. It teaches children that not all kids find value in the same things. For example, kids from the Western world might find a lot of enjoyment out of toy trains, robots, stuffed animals and dolls. However, this book shows that Chinese kids might find enjoyment out of completely different toys such as paper kites, oriental dolls, flutes, etc. Overall, it shows that a child’s taste for toys, like anything else, is influenced by their environment and not every child grows up in the same conditions. It also teaches kids a little bit about conflict resolution and comprise. Santa had to find new solutions, such as comprise and adapting to new sets of rules, to the problems that he faced in the story.
The illustrations were rather pleasing to look at. Most of the character drawings were simple, while some of the background drawings were a bit more complex. The coloring was also well done, with nice shading and attention to detail when needed. The illustrator did a fantastic job incorporating traditional Chinese art with their own, though a bit more simplistic than what you would see hanging in an art gallery. The illustrations also followed the mood of the story very well, the images were a darker when the mood was a bit more solemn and they were bright when the mood was cheery.
This book is absolutely fantastic, and I totally recommend buying this, especially if you have children. It’s a fun story to read out loud, it amused my boyfriend and me when I read it aloud to him. The pictures are nice to look at and it’ll bring enjoyment to not only kids, but probably most adults as well.
If you want to teach your kids either English or Chinese, this story is definitely going to help them learn. It does a fantastic job keeping both translations of the story side-by-side, so that you can compare the two. And let’s be honest, it’s pretty nifty to own and read a book that’s also written in another language.
If you’re looking for a good Christmas gift for your kids, grandkids, or a friend’s progeny, then look no further! This book will make an excellent book for any child how loves to read, be read to, or wants to learn another language. I highly recommend reading this to your kids or grandkids on Christmas Eve or Day to get them into the holiday spirit, and to provide a laugh or two before the family comes over.
I can’t say enough about the illustrations, but the illustrator did a fantastic job bringing this story to life with their art. The colors and styling not only do a wonderful job accenting the story, but they’ll definitely draw the eyes of any child, so be prepared to stare at the same page for more than a few minutes!