Bibbit Jumps, written and illustrated by Bei Lynn 林小杯, will be published in English by Gecko Press later this year. It’s a delightful book about Bibbit, a frog who loves to jump, and his little sister, who’s quite a lot braver than him. Of course, both of them were once tadpoles, and then grew into frogs.
We keep coming across Chinese picture books about tadpoles – see Minjie’s earlier post, including a link to “Little Tadpoles Look for their Mummy” 小蝌蚪找妈妈 books.
The original story, by Fang Huizhen 方惠珍 and Sheng Lude 盛璐德, was published in 1959. It’s about a group of tadpoles who go looking for their mother, but they don’t know what she looks like, so they ask several creatures along the way until they eventually find her. The story was made into a famous animation Where is Mama? 《小蝌蚪找妈妈》 (1960), under the artistic direction of Te Wei 特伟 (1915-2010). This was one of the earliest ink-wash animations (perhaps the first?), and was based on the paintings of Qi Baishi 齐白石 (1864-1957). You can watch it on Youtube here (it’s about 15 minutes long).
I decided to do a very quick survey of tadpole books in China and the UK. On Minjie’s link to the Chinese online bookseller douban there are almost 30 different titles.
For comparison, I took a quick look at tadpoles in English picture books – a search for “little tadpole” on amazon.co.uk and abebooks brought up these titles:
I guess from this very brief survey that the story of the little tadpoles (which even featured on postage stamps in 2013!) is one that’s known by almost all children in China, but by almost no children in the UK.
As Christmas 2019 draws to a close, the decorations come down, and the Christmas books go back on the shelf for a few months. In this post, we’ll look back on five different blog/web posts: Continue reading →
The “My Favourite Children’s Books” (我最喜爱的童书) titles of 2019 have just been announced. The winning books are selected by children (the first award of its kind in China). [The awards are similar to the annual Children’s Book Awards in the UK – if you’d like to compare, the UK list starts with 50, is shortlisted to 10 – here’s the 2019 list, which has 3 winners and 7 runners-up.] Continue reading →
Natasha Heller is Associate Professor in the Department of Religious Studies, University of Virginia, and studies Chinese Buddhism—past and present—in the context of cultural and intellectual history. She’s currently completing a book tentatively titled Raising Bodhisattvas: Picture Books and Parenting in Modern Taiwan, which looks at children’s literature published by Buddhist organizations in Taiwan in the context of global parenting. We’re delighted that she agreed to share some of her work with us here; you can also follow her on Twitter: @nheller Continue reading →
I’ve just returned from the Asian Festival of Children’s Content, in Singapore. It was the 10th AFCC, and my 1st time to the AFCC or Singapore. I’m so grateful to the Singapore Book Council – in particular William Phuan, Caroline Wan and Chloe Tong and their team – for inviting me (I gave a keynote, was on a panel, gave a lecture, and a masterclass). Continue reading →
One book leads to another… last November Lin Man-chiu and I were invited to talk about The Ventriloquist’s Daughter at an event at the LSE. The chair of the event, Prof Fang-long Shih, suggested that the story might be linked with ghost brides (on which she is an expert). Lin Man-chiu rejected this idea, but the discussion stuck in my mind, and when I saw Yangsze Choo’s novel The Ghost Bride, I was intrigued. Amy Matthewson devoured The Ventriloquist’s Daughter and Yangsze Choo’s two books The Ghost Bride (2013) and The Night Tiger (2019) in quick succession, and was thrilled when Yangsze Choo 朱洋熹 agreed to an interview. They discussed both of her books, but agreed that while The Ghost Bride is suitable (albeit scary) for young adults, The Night Tiger is more of an adult read. We are very grateful to Yangsze and Amy for this interview! – Helen Continue reading →
Justine Laismith is a UK-based scientist and author of her children’s books. Her new book Secrets of the Great Fire Tree will be published in May this year. We are delighted she agreed to an interview with us! Continue reading →