左左和右右 Zuo Zuo and You You (Left and Right)
This is an interesting book based in Singapore, about the friendship between a girl 左左 and a boy 右右. They are classmates and neighbours, but their families don't cross paths. In fact, their mothers quarrel often, and avoid each other like the plague.
Later on, due to family circumstances - 左左's mum went to a casino in Genting and 右右's mum went to a temple in Muar, both came back ridden in debt - the two families moved away from that particular HDB block.
After 10+ years, the duo is brought together by a twist of fate.
Why we like this book:
- Reflects many cultural and religious elements in Singapore in this era
- Fun to spot all the cats - my toddler and 6 year old love this!
- Hanyu pinyin helps readers of various abilities to understand the content
Words we learnt:
- 麻坡 má pō Muar, Malaysia
- 云顶 yún dǐng Genting
- 做噩梦 zuò è mèng have nightmares
- 当店 dàng diàn (not dāng diàn) pawnshop
- 愁眉苦脸 chóu méi kǔ liǎn frowning
Conversation starters / things my kids asked about:
- What are pawnshops?
- What are loansharks?
- Why are there cats in the neighbourhood?
- Why were the police called in when the mothers quarrelled?
- Do you have a friend that you have lost touch with, whom you miss?
- Find out where the nearest pawnshop, and find the 當 character that is usually displayed right outside
- Find the neighbourhood cats
Recommended for Ages: 6-12
Language: Simplified Chinese with hanyu pinyin