We have over a dozen sound books in Chinese and Korean, and our favorites are Chinese Nursery Rhymes Sound Books from Bao Bao Learns Chinese. These books feature popular Mandarin Chinese children’s songs that are perfect for babies, toddlers, preschoolers, and kindergartners!
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Chinese Music Book of Nursery Rhymes – Why we love this sound book
Like all children, my 6-year-old daughter and 3-year-old son LOVE music! They love to sing and dance, and they have learned so many Mandarin Chinese words through popular Asian and translated Western nursery rhymes.
Bao Bao Learns Chinese was created by Peipei Zhou, a Chinese-American mom who noticed the shortage of Mandarin resources for children in the United States.
Pei Pei Zhou sings each Chinese nursery rhyme in these music sound books. Her lovely vocals are accompanied by gentle guitar and piano.
I can’t tell you how relieved I am about this refreshing change from the digitized and childish sounds of many of our Chinese and Korean sound books (eg, Pinkfong)!
My son even wondered where the singer was, because “她唱得像个真人 / 她唱得像個真人 (Tā chàng dé xiàng gè zhēnrén / She sings like a real person, mommy)!”
And my daughter was really excited when she heard the guitar in the background of most songs since that is my husband’s main instrument. Some of the songs, such as 世上只有妈妈好, have piano, my daughter’s instrument!
12 popular Chinese nursery rhymes
Each music sound book comes with 3 popular Chinese songs and 3 Western nursery rhymes.
Titles and duration of songs in the red book
- 小蜘蛛 (Xiǎo zhīzhū / Itsy Bitsy Spider): 55 seconds
- 两只老虎 (Liǎng zhī lǎohǔ/ Two Tigers): 39 seconds
- 找朋友 (Zhǎo péngyǒu / Find A Friend): 55 seconds
- 划小船 (Huà xiǎochuán / Row Row Row Your Boat): 36 seconds
- 世上只有妈妈好 (Shìshàng zhǐyǒu māmā hǎo / Mama Is The Best In This World: 1 minute & 31 seconds
- 小星星 (Xiǎo xīng xīng / Twinkle Twinkle Little Star): 1 minute & 33 seconds
Titles and duration of songs in the blue book
- 我是一个小茶壶 (I’m A Little Tea Pot): 41 seconds
- 小兔子乖乖 (Good Baby Rabbit): 40 seconds
- 如果感到幸福你就拍拍手 (If You Are Happy And You Know It): 44 seconds
- 新年好 (Happy New Year): 45 seconds
- 我的好妈妈 (My Dear Mama): 1 minute 8 seconds
- 你是我阳光 You Are My Sunshine: 1 minute 7 seconds
Lyrics with Chinese, Pinyin, and English!
I love that these Chinese nursery rhymes books have been designed for all families, regardless of their fluency!
The Simplified Chinese text is larger than the accompanying Hanyu Pinyin which helps illiterate parents sound out the pronunciation of the Chinese characters.
English translations are placed to the left of each phrase.
Most lyrics are typed in white or black font to contrast the bold images.
As with typical board books, each page is thick, durable, and resilient from toddler hands.
The front of the book has a panel on the right with 6 song buttons which toggle the music on and off.
On the back cover, you’ll find a switch that controls the power and volume (Off/Low/High).
Two AAA batteries are included in the child-safe battery compartment in the back cover.
Last year when my son was only 2 years old, he was able to push all buttons independently! He loves that he’s able to listen to the Chinese music all by himself!
Chinese nursery rhymes video demonstration
This video shows how 小蜘蛛 and 世上只有妈妈好 sounds, how to play and stop a song, and how to adjust the volume.
Mandarin Chinese video pronunciation guide for beginners
To help beginner learners master the lyrics, the Bao Bao Learns Chinese website has video pronunciation guides on their website!
Clearly, they have thought about what a new learner needs to maximize the benefits from these Chinese music books!
When I first began to learn Chinese with my daughter a few years, ago, this is exactly the type of resource I wish I had!
Here’s an example of a video narration of Itsy Bitsy Spider in Chinese:
What I wish was different about these sound books
- Although the 两只老虎 / Two Tigers song is very popular in China, with one tiger missing eyes and another missing its tail, the traditional lyric “真奇怪 (Zhēn qíguài / That’s strange) ” is insensitive to animals and persons with disabilities. Instead of this phrase, we replace with “没关系 (Méiguānxì / It’s okay), and it was a good teaching moment for my kids.
- I wish that the illustrations showed children instead of animals. Although pandas are considered the national treasure of China, I feel like they are overused in introductory Chinese resources. While my toddler son enjoyed the illustrations, they did not hold my daughter’s attention too long. Instead, I wish that there were illustrations of kids playing and acting related to the song lyrics which I think would attract a wider age range of children.
- The song buttons are also not as intuitive as other sound books that we have. Typical sound books shows a portion of the illustration that goes with the song, but the illustrations in this book are a bit homogeneous. The different shapes are also not necessary, but my toddler was still able to figure this out.
I think this Chinese Music Book of Nursery Rhymes is a wonderful resource for children to play and enjoy Chinese music independently and with their families.
New Mandarin learners will be grateful for the support of Pinyin and English translations plus clear video pronunciation guides!
I hope to see more Chinese music books like this become available for our children’s generation.
I recommend this Chinese nursery rhymes book for all families who want their children to learn Mandarin!
Where to buy Bao Bao Learns Chinese Nursery Rhymes Sound Book
What are your kids favorite Chinese nursery rhymes?
Have you noticed that music helps your kids learn new Chinese words? Please share with me in the comments below!
How to Teach Kids Chinese
When parents and caregivers are consistently providing them input, children will learn to speak the minority language.
Initially, the process may seem intimidating, but you can nurture them with music and fun Chinese activities.
In addition, Chinese books are important for building vocabulary and cultivating a love of learning Chinese!
Here are more articles that can help jump start your family’s Chinese learning journey:
- Raising Multilingual Children as a Non-Fluent Parent: 7 Lessons Learned
- Teach Your Child a Second Language at Home with 5 Key Steps
- How To Get Your Child To Speak the Minority Language
- 5 Basic Tips for Memorizing Chinese Characters
- How I Taught My Child 1000+ Chinese Characters as a Non-Fluent Speaker