Last night I finished the first book for the Language Freak Summer Challenge. I decided to pick a Chinese book as my first book, because I only just finished my Chinese classes for this semester and the knowledge is still fresh. This review will focus on the language aspect of this book: reading it in Chinese.
Frog feels sad, but doesn’t know why. His friends try to cheer him up.
My first book was 难过的弗洛格 (Nánguò de Fúluògē), by Max Velthuijs. It’s a children’s book originally written in Dutch (Kikker is Bedroefd), and the English title is Frog is Sad. I have never read it in any of the other languages though. The book is about Frog, who feels sad but doesn’t now why. His friends Little Bear and Old Rat (I don’t know if these are their names in other languages!) try to cheer him up, but it’s not working, until… Well, you’ll have to read for yourself haha.
I was surprised how readable this book is! This was my very first book in Chinese, ever. I had to look up a few words (like ‘violin’, ‘mood’, ‘duck’, ‘crazy’), but with that new vocabulary it went well. My Chinese is still quite basic, but reading comprehension is my strong point and that was quite obvious while I was reading. Along with my good old Pleco dictionary app I was set. Pinyin (pronunciation) in the text was helpful too, particularly when looking up words.
I’d definitely recommend Max Velthuijs’ Frog series for beginners, as far as children’s books go. The stories are aimed at children, obviously, but they’re quite nice. I believe the books have been translated into quite a few languages.
My next book for the challenge will be Krabat by Otfried Preußler! German is by far my best mastered language for the challenge, so let’s see how I cope!
难过的弗洛格 (Frog is Sad) by Max Velthuijs
Published by Hunan Juvenile & Children's Publishing House on 2006
The verdict: ★★★☆☆
See this book on Goodreads