字然课 Word Creatures
The "Word Creatures" picture book, selects 24 representative oracle bone inscriptions close to the children's life, and weaves rhymes and rhythms around them. Each poem is accompanied by beautiful illustrations, rich colors, cute styles.
The book comes with an animation cartoon too, which kids can enjoy while learning Chinese characters! The animation can be browsed in snippets for each character, or in its entirety at 15minutes.
Recommended for Ages: 3-9
Language: Simplified Chinese
Comes with: Animation with Audio, Scan QR code with accompanying booklet
Sharing some ways we used this book for exploratory studies:
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The past 2 months, we have been focusing on the elder boy's English handwriting and nurturing a love of drawing beyond stick figures. Now that handwriting is mostly settled, we are excited to shift our gears and focus more on Chinese words! Just to share: Been learning about Pictographs recently! Pictographs are words that look like and are evolved from the pictorial illustration of the word eg 马 in this photo, as well as 月，口，田，山，木，林，森. 甲骨文 Oracle bone script would fall under this category. Accounts for about 5% of Chinese characters. Pictographs can be either be stand-alone words, or be part of a compound word. About 80% of Chinese characters are Semantic-phonetic compounds. Simply put, the semantic component gives you an idea of the MEANING of the word, and the phonetic component gives you an idea of the SOUND of the word. - What we did: Started our exploration of 马 by learning to draw a horse! The boys are really into drawing now, so I'm riding on their sensitive periods that Maria Montessori talked about. Took out 汉字是画出来的 to see the evolution of the character 马. Read the simple 马-related rhymes in 字然课 - love the illustrations! Arranged the 甲骨文配配卡 from picture, to 甲骨文, to modern Chinese character. Impromptu activity: Kids are into flaps of paper, so we recycled some brown paper to create these words! My boy helped to paste them onto his jotter book. He then came up with some 词语 and 造句 that makes sense to him. - What I learnt: For the words we explored, 马 was the phonetic component! In 吗 妈 蚂 骂. So if you see the 马 inside, the word probably SOUNDS like a variant of "mǎ". When 马 is the phonetic component, and other part lets us guess the meaning. 口 + 马 = 吗 using the mouth to ask a question 虫 + 马 = 蚂 a kind of insect 口 + 口 + 马 = 骂 two mouths, maybe talking much louder, like scolding 女 + 马 = 妈 female.... horse? Wondering to myself, is it because mummies always 做牛做马? Haha! I didn't go into 马 as a semantic component - as in more difficult words like 驰 驮 驯 驾. If we see the 马 inside, it would MEAN something related to horses instead. Will definitely come back to this sometime down the road. (Reflection continued in the comments!)
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🌾 Our exploratory study on 草，花 🌻 Read《 汉字是画出来的》 to see the evolution of the characters 草 and 花, learnt 草字头 Learnt a rhyme about 花 in 《字然课》 Used home-made stamps with a foam sheet and recycled cardboard to make a picture with the words 草，花，叶 Made pizza together for lunch, and wrote out the names of the ingredients, turns out many had 草字头！Had fun observing and identifying which characters have 草字头, and what it means Learnt about the legend of 神农尝百草 in 《中国经典故事》 Classic Chinese Tales - with Hanyu Pinyin (Set of 20). Had an interesting conversation with both boys about how to distinguish between myths and real stories. How can 神农氏 test a myriad of flowers and plant parts and get poisoned hundreds of times but still survive? Reminisced our recent nature walks where we talked about different height of grass. The boys noticed many times that grass that grows in the most unexpected of places, like in between tiles at the carpark and the side of drains! Reminds me of the Tang Poem 《赋得古原草送别》by 白居易, We recited the first two lines: “离离原上草，一岁一枯荣。 野火烧不尽，春风吹又生。” Even after a huge blaze, they are not destroyed - when spring comes, it grows again! 生命力好顽强！ Also brings to mind an old song 《小草》 by 刘文正 I heard in my childhood! My younger boy found it funny that the little grass shakes its head in the wind and he asked to listen to the song again! 大风起 把头摇一摇 风停了 又挺直腰 大雨来 弯着背让雨浇 雨停了 抬起头 站直脚 不怕风 不怕雨 立志要长高 小草实在是并不小
This book has beautiful illustrations, as well as a story to accompany each word. The book also has QR codes leading to short animations of each word!
The little poems and colorful pictures are enough to capture the attention of my 3yo. Good quality book!