Let’s Start Reading!
Reading is beneficial to everyone, so let’s get started by recommending two exciting titles! The Story of the Gosling that was not Quick Enough is suitable for the younger children, and A Scarecrow is suitable for the older children.
The Story of the Gosling that was not Quick Enough
By Hanna Johansen
Illustrated by Käthi Bhend
Translated by Wang Xiaoxiao
Published by Lijiang Publishing Limited, July 2014
The Swiss author Hanna Johansen – whose work has been translated into over 10 different languages – delicately crafts the tale of a gosling who is the last to emerge from his egg in The Story of the Gosling that was not Quick Enough. Whether it is breaking out of the eggshell, climbing out of it, walking, flying, or swimming, the little gosling is always a little slower than his elder siblings. “I’ll never be able to learn,” he keeps thinking. However, he never gives up in trying to catch up with everyone else, and together with the encouragement of his loving mother, he succeeds time and time again. With a selfless heart, the gosling does not get dejected even though the others always begrudge him his slowness, or even when all his suggestions are rejected. In the end, the gosling even manages to give the other geese sufficient warning to avoid certain doom.
Along with beautiful writing and a heart-warming story, this book also tackles the philosophy of life and the topic of nature. Although it is a translation, it is easy to read. The illustrations by Swiss illustrator Käthi Bhend are detailed and vivid, helping to ensure that children fall in love with reading and develop the habit of reading. The children’s books that Johansen and Bhend have worked on together are extremely popular, and have won “The Most Beautiful Swiss Book Award” and “The Leipzig International Book Gold Prize”, and been named among the “Best Books of the Bologna Children’s Book Fair”. Reading this book, children can experience the gosling’s journey growing up!
By Ye Shengtao
Published by Hebei Children’s Publishing House, March 2014
Ye Shengtao is a well-known Chinese writer, educator, and social activist. Among his works, A Scarecrow is the first fairy tale collection published in modern China, hence making him a pioneer of modern Chinese fairy tales. A Scarecrow collects 23 fairy tales. The stories are simple and touching, leading children towards a world of truth, kindness, beauty and warmth. Additionally, with its beautiful writing, the book is sure to enrich children’s vocabularies.
Ye Shengtao’s fairy tales do not simply bring children into a fictional world of innocence and perfection, his fairy tales teach them how to retain good values in actual society. For instance, the titular swallow that is injured in “The Swallow” is told by the willow tree, the pond and the bee: “Don’t believe that there is no danger in the world!” However, their concern, the comfort of the flowers, and the help rendered by the young girl Qingzi and her friend Yu’er to the injured swallow are all heart-warming. On the other hand, “A Seed” advocates the importance of a pure heart; “The Earth” praises the value of hard work; while “Fang’er’s Dream” extols a child’s grateful heart, a mother’s love, and the preciousness of nature.
This collection of fairy tales is also accompanied by full-colour illustrations, which makes reading them all the more engaging. Furthermore, annotations and analyses are offered by the editor to help children better understand the stories.