Written by Su Yen Hu and Lihui Wang, the books are in both Simplified Chinese and English with gorgeous illustrations. They are not only a great tool for beginners learning to speak a different language, but a fabulous way for anyone to learn something about Chinese culture, and to see that however far apart in distance and language, the East and West share the same human values.
The way the Chinese characters are clearly shown with the Pinyin* below the English text makes it incredibly easy to see the translation and the use of colour to highlight key words and phrases is brilliant.
At the back of each book is a CD, which reads the story in first English and then Chinese, so you can listen along, check and learn the correct pronunciation, and younger children can use the books with the CD's to read independently.
The Stories Of Animal Signs Series features the animals in the Chinese calendar. Naughty Monkey is the story of how the animal representing 2016 came to be included in 9th place. The Naughty Monkey was so strong that he became the Monkey King, and competed in the race for placing on the calendar.
Everyone thought the Naughty Monkey would win, but his fear of water held him back. He was so angry afterwards that he took it out on the people and the land, and had to be punished by Buddha.
First recorded on ancient manuscripts as early as the 4th century BC, this edition is very easy for children to read and follow the storyline. My boys really enjoyed it, and as everyone knows a little of the Chinese calendar story, it filled in the rest for my boys, and me - I didn't know what happened to the monkey after he took 9th position.
Naughty Monkey (rrp £12.99) is printed in hardback, has 32 full colour pages, a CD and is suitable for those aged around 5+.
The Chinese Festivals Series is a collection of books which tell the stories behind some of the Chinese events, traditions and celebrations, and we've been sent The New Year Beast.
The New Year Beast tells the story of Nian, the terrible monster who terrorised the villagers at the bottom of his mountain. Each New Year he would come down and eat all of their animals.
The people were so unhappy that they decided they had to leave and go to live elsewhere, in order to escape the monster Nian.
An old man visited the village and told the people to stay. He taught them how to defeat Nian using noise, colour and fire. Now at New Year Chinese people celebrate using noise, colour and fire, and Nian has never returned...
It's a lovely story and even my 5 year old recognised that must be why Chinese people like to light noisy firecrackers and bangers. It pulls together what we know and gives it reason.
The New Year Beast (rrp £14.99) is printed in hardback edition, has 64 full colour pages and a CD, and is suitable for people aged 5+.
Both Snowflake Books are gorgeous, well-written, beautifully illustrated and explain so much! We have all learnt a lot, including my older college-aged children. They are designed for children aged 5-15, but really are of interest to any age group.
Available to buy now in these English/Simplified Chinese versions, and also in English/Traditional Chinese.
*In case you were left wondering - Pinyin is the official phonetic system for transcribing the Mandarin pronunciations of Chinese characters into the Latin alphabet.
We were sent our books for review.