I promised myself that I would not buy anymore anthropomorphic animal books, because we already have tons of Chinese picture books. For balance, I have been trying to get the kids more reality-based books with human characters. However, the 可爱的鼠小弟 Little Mouse series came highly recommended by so many families, and I am glad that we bought it!
Both of my children (4.5-year-old daughter, 21-month-old son) absolutely love the 可爱的鼠小弟 Little Mouse series! You can also listen to the stories for free on Ximalaya.
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Chinese Books for Kids: 可爱的鼠小弟 Little Mouse Series
- Title: 可爱的鼠小弟 Little Mouse Series
- Author: Yoshiwo Nakae
- Illustrator: Noriko Ueno
- Publisher: 南海出版公司 (Nanhai publishing company)
- ISBN: 9787544244954
- Language version: Simplified Chinese
- Type: Picture book
- Age: 3-6 years
- Where to buy:
- Where to listen:
Review of 可爱的鼠小弟 Little Mouse Series
The Little Mouse books are originally Japanese books which have been translated to simplified Chinese. The series consists of 22 books divided into 2 sets (1-12, 13-22).
The set of books revolves around Little Mouse, a male mouse with a red knit vest who learns about the benefits and consequences of sharing with his animal friends.
My daughter has memorized 800-900 Chinese characters (I lost track after we finished 四五快读). Most of these stories were easy for her to read, which is great for building confidence and improving reading speed. I can read about 500 characters, but I didn’t have to check the dictionary too often.
Good news! You can watch/listen to the 鼠小弟 series for free on the 咔哒故事-儿童睡前故事大全 app and also the Ximalaya app here! Personally, we prefer real books for the kids, but the app is helpful for my kids to hear the narration from a native speaker.
We just play it on my phone and then turn the phone face down to follow along the real book. The illustrations on the app are also not so detailed like the real books as you will see in the pictures below!
What we love about 可爱的鼠小弟 Little Mouse Series
- Cute and funny stories with a moral at the end of each story.
- The text is very simple; most pages have only 1-2 lines per page.
- The sentence structure is repetitive, so you can practice new words and phrases throughout a book. For example, my daughter sometimes mixes up 错 (Cuò / wrong) with 借 (jiè / borrow). One of the stories talks uses the word 借 frequently, so she now knows this word well.
- The pencil illustrations are black-and-white and understated.
- Although the story is fictional, the animals are drawn relatively in proportion like their real form. However, facial expressions and body posture of the animals imitate humans and wonderfully dynamic, effectively telling a story on its own.
- Some illustrations might be little abstract some toddlers (I’ll give examples with the photos below).
- The background of each page is plain, therefore not distracting from the text or illustrations.
- The words and illustrations are on different pages so that the reader can focus on reading or studying the pictures.
What we don’t like about 可爱的鼠小弟 Little Mouse Series
The font is very small and sometimes hard to see depending on the color of the page (eg, black font on a brown page).
My guess is that the font is small so that it’s aesthetically balanced with the illustrations. But from a functional standpoint, my aging eyes often have to squint to read the words!
Video of my daughter reading 鼠小弟
Here is a video of my daughter reading part of Little Mouse Broke the Mug 打破杯子的鼠小弟 (Book 8)! This is not her smoothest reading compared to other Chinese reading progress videos.
However, I think it’s a good example of how she take breaks to look at the pictures, and that I have to try to be quiet and patient during her reading.
- Little Mouse’s Tank Top 鼠小弟的小背心
- Little Mouse Craves Apple 想吃苹果的鼠小弟
- Little Mouse’s Other Tank Top 鼠小弟的又一件小背心
- Little Mouse and Sister 鼠小弟和鼠小妹
- Little Mouse, Little Mouse 鼠小弟，鼠小弟
- Little Mouse’s Tank Top Strikes Again 又来了！鼠小弟的小背心
- Little Mouse’s Birthday 鼠小弟的生日
- Little Mouse Broke the Mug 打破杯子的鼠小弟
- Little Mouse and Big Elephant 鼠小弟和大象哥哥
- Little Mouse On the Swing 鼠小弟荡秋千
- Little Mouse Goes to a Concert 鼠小弟和音乐会
- Little Mouse Changes his Tank Top 换换吧！鼠小弟的小背心
- Mouse Brother and Muffin 鼠小弟和松饼
- Make Snowman 鼠小弟堆雪人
- Again Mouse Brother and Muffin 又来了！鼠小弟和松饼
- Christmas 鼠小弟的圣诞节
- Gift 鼠小弟的礼物
- Hide and Seek 鼠小弟捉迷藏
- Seesaw 鼠小弟玩跷跷板
- What To Do When You Grow Up 鼠小弟，长大以后做什么？
- It Can Only Be Red 只能是红的！鼠小弟的小背心
- Go To Seaside 鼠小弟去海边
Examples of the 可爱的鼠小弟 books
想吃苹果的鼠小弟 (Book 2)
Little Mouse Craves Apple 想吃苹果的鼠小弟 (Book 2) is my currently son’s favorite 鼠小弟 book! He is always asking for “apple 书” and loves seeing the different animals on each page reaching for the apples.
In this story, each animal that comes to the apple tree easily pluck an apple to eat. However, 鼠小弟 feels frustrated that he doesn’t have a long nose, or the ability to climb or fly to get the apple. At last, the sea lion friend helps 鼠小弟 get his apple!
Since my 20-month-old often does not have the patience to listen to each sentence, we usually discuss the illustrations (eg, “read the pictures”).
For example, we’ll count the apples on each page and notice that each page has one less apple, or we’ll compare the size of the elephant with that of the mouse.
鼠小弟和鼠小妹 (Book 4)
The next images are from 鼠小弟和鼠小妹 (Book 4). My daughter was intrigued by this story because of the heart and the bubble over 鼠小弟 in the pictures.
We discussed that illustrations and text may show the character’s thoughts, such as in bubbles.
In this case, 鼠小弟 is daydreaming about getting married to 鼠小妹 and having a family.
打破杯子的鼠小弟 (Book 8)
The next few photos show Little Mouse Broke the Mug 打破杯子的鼠小弟 (Book 8). This is a great book about honesty and integrity about making mistakes.
鼠小弟 breaks a glass and brainstorms different excuses due to fear that his mother will yell at him. He considers blaming other animals but ultimately comes clean to his mom.
Since the text and illustrations show other animals breaking the glass, this was another example for my daughter to learn that illustrations often show thoughts rather than real events.
In summary, I highly recommend the 鼠小弟 Little Mouse series of Chinese picture books!
FREE CHINESE AUDIOBOOKS
Many websites and apps offer FREE multilingual books for kids!
Ximalaya FM is our favorite, and I highly recommend their free Chinese audiobooks for all kids!
Since the entire website and app is in Chinese, please refer to this guide on How to Use Ximalaya if you cannot read Chinese.
Where to buy Chinese books for kids
If you’re wondering where to buy kids’ books, please click here for a list of the most popular online Chinese bookstores!
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