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Sunday, November 16, 2014

Multicultural Monday: All About China -- Book Review

 Disclosure: Tuttle Publishing gave me a copy of this book free of charge for this review. All opinions in my review are my own and I did not receive any other compensation. As in all my reviews I am providing links for your ease, but receive no compensation. 

Today I am going to share our exploration of China. The fourth book in Tuttle's All About series has recently been published. It is All About China by Allison "Aixin" Branscombe. Like the other books: Indonesia, Japan and Korea, All About China gives a wonderful overview of what it is like to live in China. The book is full of information, stories, crafts and recipes. In the beginning the reader is introduced to two Chinese children who share their lives throughout the book. 

Hazel and I read this book over several nights. Each night we would read a part and learn a bit more about the country and culture. Like all of Tuttle Publishing's books, The pages are beautiful. They are full of pictures to give the child a full understanding of what it is like. It is full of information including history, geography, government and more. Reading about the various Dynasties seemed to confuse Hazel a bit. She had trouble remembering what a Dynasty was and I think the names threw her off a bit. Yet, she loved seeing the pictures and reading the stories that are incorporated throughout the book.


Source

After we made it through the entire book, we worked on making many of the crafts in it. The first thing Hazel wanted to try was Chinese calligraphy.



She did get frustrated a bit when she had trouble making the letters perfect, but we got some practice done.


Good Fortune

While she practiced I painted the outlines of the fish and panda they offered on the same page. The next day Hazel painted them with watercolors. 



Next we worked on the paper cutting for "Double Happiness".


 
Unfortunately while Hazel was playing with mine, she ripped it, but a little tape and it was all better. Then we made the Chinese New Year Crafts-- the red envelope that is given to children with money in it and a Chinese New Year Lantern.



Since the coming year is the year of the sheep by the Chinese zodiac (this is the year of the horse), we wanted to stamp a golden sheep on the envelope, but of course our only missing farm animal stamp was the sheep. We did find a sheep sticker though and used that. However traditionally the red envelope would have gold writing or a gold picture on it.  For the lantern we used a piece of scrapbook paper instead of making our own picture. Hazel was getting tired and losing focus so I wanted to get it done quickly.



We also tried the New Year's recipes in the book. We made the Kid-Friendly Long Life Noodles which everyone loved! We also made the Soy Sauce and Ginger Chicken. Now in reality we did not marinade or cool the chicken long enough, but it was pretty tasty. Hazel thought she would have liked it better without the marinade.



For dessert we made the Autumn Moon Festival dessert or at least the Simple Kid-Friendly Mooncake Recipe provided. Hazel could not wait to try these. Traditionally they are made with a sweet red or black bean paste, but since Hazel did not like this type of filling previously we used the suggestion of jam.



These were very simplified mooncakes. They are made with a tube of crescent dinner roll dough. However the traditional mooncakes have designs printed on them.
Wing Wah Mooncake
Source: By Mk2010 (Own work) 
[CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
The book also has tangram and painted mask activities as well as a couple more recipes. I learned many things from reading this book. One is what we call the Chinese yo-yo is not a Chinese yo-yo. The book also introduces some Chinese words and how to use chopsticks. Overall I would highly recommend this book for anyone who wants to learn more about China and it is the perfect book for a classroom learning about China.

For more posts about China check out: