With Mandarin the language of the moment, and possibly the century to come, and many of our little ones starting Mando nursery any minute now, the pressure is on for some parents to somehow get involved. Sure, you have switched some of your kids’ fave DVDs onto the Chinese mode once in a while, and heck, you have even mastered numbers one to five, but how, oh how, to even begin with characters?
Christoph Niemann’s slick picture book The Pet Dragon is a fabulous way to introduce kids to calligraphy. In this story about a girl (Lin) and her pet dragon, each symbol is embedded into Niemann’s modern illustrations, beautifully expressing each meaning alongside the English.
The book on its own is gorgeous, but the character and education element moves it up to a class all its own.
It’s aimed at ages 4-8, but we’ve heard even 2-3 year olds love it for storytime too!
The author has an occasional picture blog for grownups in the online version of the New York Times, offering a witty take on modern life. Here’s a recent sample: Christoph Niemann on NYTimes.com.