12 Lucky Animals: A Bilingual Baby Book

illus. by Joey Chou. 24p. Holt/Godwin Bks. Dec. 2018. Board $7.99. ISBN 9781250184245.
PreS-K—This charming bilingual board book introduces the Chinese zodiac and language in an accessible way regardless of the language ability of readers. Two pages are devoted to each zodiac animal. On the left-hand page is a picture of the friendly creature. The opposite page has the animal's name in English; underneath is the Chinese character and its pronunciation. Also included is the way the word phonetically sounds in English. For example, Pig is Zhu and is pronounced "Zhoo." Beneath is a picture of the pig is a description of its characteristics: "Happy, gentle, caring, loves being at home with family." This title does an excellent job of introducing the Chinese culture to parents and other adults who may not be fluent in the language. It is written in a way that will instill confidence and set the stage for a positive reading experience. It may also encourage children to want to learn more. Illustrations are cute and friendly and the layout is attractive and easy to follow.
VERDICT A first purchase for libraries and preschools, perfect for ushering in a new year.

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