Resource Review: Pangu, The Tsunami

Tags: Review

Resource Title: Pangu: The Tsunami

Author:  Martha Keswick, Illustrated by Elvin Ching

Cost (RRP):  £8.99

Available from: UK:  CME Books Europe/USA:  China BooksChina Sprout & Ni Hao books / Australia: Angus Robertson  

Reviewer: Jessica Zhang

Description:  An Action-Packed Chinese comic!

This series was inspired by the legend of Pangu, the first living being and creator of all in Chinese mythology.  Each story is told in English and then simplified into an action-packed Chinese comic.

Follow Lily, Kai and their supernatural friends on the road to new adventures, whilst taking giant steps to learning Chinese.

Twins Lily and Kai are helping their mother prepare for the family’s Chinese New Year celebrations. But when they decide to go out and play instead of tidying their rooms, they come across a hidden cave, and some fantastic secrets within. While time stands still, a mysterious encounter with a giant helps Lily and Kai save their family from a tsunami… and reveals secrets from their mother’s childhood.

Follow Lily, Kai and their new-found friends on the road to discovering new characters, taking Giant Steps to learning Chinese.

Designed for children aged 7 to 11, this brand new colourful bilingual series will entertain Chinese learners.  The Tsunami is the first in a series of Pangu comics.

Reviewer Profile:  My name is Jessica Zhang and I currently teach Mandarin Chinese to Y1 and 2 pupils (5 to 7 years old) in St Paul’s Primary School in Withington, Manchester.  St Paul’s was the first primary Confucius Classroom.   I have been teaching Mandarin and Chinese culture/art for 3 years having first completed a certificate of teaching Chinese as foreign language from Hanban/Shanghai Normal University.  For me, as a primary school teacher, there is nothing more exciting than listening to my students saying “wo ai zhong wen” (I love Chinese) or looking at their beautiful Chinese hand-writing. The children in our school are proof that Chinese should be taught from an early age.

Things I liked about the resource:   Pangu is a great new comic which can be used as a reading resource for children learning Chinese.  It could also be used by a teacher as a story telling book to new learners. 

 It is useful to have the story provided in English, as it means that children can read it first and are able to get an idea about the story.  They are then in a better position to tackle the illustrated comic containing just the Chinese characters.

The focus of this book is character recognition and learners require reasonable prior knowledge of Chinese characters.  There is very little use of pinyin which is different from majority of Chinese learning/teaching materials.   I like the way target words have been highlighted in bold throughout so that children will notice them whilst they are reading the story

What could have been improved:  I feel that Pangu is less suitable as a teaching resource in a class lesson although it would work in an after-school club.   As a reading material, I will recommend this book to children who at intermediate level of Chinese, rather than for someone just starting to learn Chinese.  In my own personal opinion,  I would prefer to see English (not necessary Pinyin) alongside with the Chinese character in the comic, highlighting target words in both English and Chinese.   Equally I understand that 'characters only' encourages children to work hard on character and sentence pattern recognition skills.

Why and how did I use this resource?  I put this book in our reading corner for Y3&4 children who have some Chinese learning experience. The children enjoyed  reading this book and were willing to learn new words from the story. They were very interested in this  traditional Chinese mythical story which makes them want to learn more about Chine and Chinese the language.

Why may others use this resource?  Pangu can be a very good resource at reading corner for intermediate level children and story telling time with children at any level.

Conclusions / other comments:  Generally I think Pangu is a good Chinese reading material for intermediate level children. It provides a great opportunity for children to explore interesting Chinese characters by themselves.