I never thought my 5-year-old daughter could love books more than she already does…until she started to read Mi Xiao Quan 米小圈上学记 一二三四年级. If you don’t have this Chinese bridge book (early chapter book) series yet, you need to get it for your elementary school-aged kid!
I’ll first explain why 米小圈上学记 is a hilarious, must-have series. At the end of the post, I’ll share where to buy the books plus how to listen to the dynamic audio narration!
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Funny and interesting 米小圈上学记 Chinese bridge books
When my daughter is reading 米小圈上学记, I sometimes have to tell her: “Put the book down please! 现在一定要吃午餐 (Xiànzài yīdìng yào chī wǔcān / It’s time for lunch now).”
Sometimes she’ll be in the middle of getting dressed and forget what she’s doing.
She gets sidetracked, because she just has to peek at the next page!
I can’t complain though. 米小圈上学记 is a win-win for everybody!
My daughter wakes up before everyone just to read these books and is SO excited to find out what 米小圈 and his friends are doing. She wants to know all of the jokes, whether his friends fail a test, or if his parents are arguing about the dad’s smelly feet.
While the rest of us are sleeping, she quietly reads by herself for an hour or two until we remind her about breakfast!
So…yay for mommy sleeping a little later and my daughter entertaining herself! I’m grateful that she’s reading all the time and learning so much about Chinese culture from 米小圈上学记!
米小圈上学记 一二三四年级 Book Review
米小圈上学记 is a popular bridge book series about a boy named 米小圈 and his life in China!
The diary series begins when he’s in 1st grade and currently goes up to 4th grade.
If you’re familiar with Diary of a Wimpy Kid in English, 米小圈 is similar. Like Wimpy Kid, 米小圈 is written in the first person with a conversational style that is great for learning Chinese dialogue.
Compared to Wimpy Kid, 米小圈 has fewer comic-style illustrations and more words per page. Some pages are full text.
The full set is available in simplified Chinese only. The first 2 parts of the series, 一二年级, has Hanyu Pinyin above the Chinese characters, while 三四年级 do not.
As for traditional Chinese, only 一年级 is available currently.
My daughter’s experience with reading 米小圈 (Mi Xiao Quan)
Last summer, I introduced the 米小圈上学记 Chinese audiobook on Ximalaya, but she wasn’t interested.
Fast forward a few months, and she kept asking for the audiobook on replay. I realized that I better get the physical chapter books so that she could enjoy reading and seeing the illustrations.
Reading independently after knowing 1000+ Chinese characters
I actually haven’t read most of the chapters with my daughter. Since she’s so absorbed with the stories, she is usually reading on her own while I read different Chinese picture books with her little brother!
Therefore, most of this review is actually based on what she has told me!
When she first got the books, she devoured the 4 books of 一年级 within 2 days! Since then, she’s been all over the place excitedly skipping around each of the grades, and now gradually going through 二年级.
Mi Xiao Quan Reading comprehension check
Since she is so enthralled by the series, I can easily assess her reading comprehension, because she’s constantly telling me everything that happens!
Even when she runs into new Chinese characters, she is able to understand most of the plot because of context. In fact, she has actually taught me new phrases that she figured out from reading the books!
Learning about school life in China
My daughter is completely fascinated by how different school and family life are in a traditional Chinese family. Through 米小圈上学记, I feel like she is really learning about Chinese culture for the first time.
She’s exposed to different lifestyles, such as:
- Teachers yelling at students
- Intense competition and comparison between peers
- Spanking as punishment
Although many Americans would find the academic pressure and corporal punishment to be objectionable, these are realistic facts that my parents experienced firsthand and that I got a taste of in my childhood.
Rather than shy away from the unfavorable topics, examples from 米小圈上学记 has served as talking points for our family and why we try to lead our lives differently.
She’s also exposed to aspects of school life common to all parts of the world, such as friendships and studying for tests. There is fighting and mention of guns and tobacco use (米小圈’s dad is a smoker).
Many lessons can be learned from mistakes that 米小圈 and his friends and family have made.
Inspiration to draw 米小圈上学记cartoon characters
Since the line drawings appeared simple and cute to my daughter, she has been spending her free time trying to draw 米小圈 and his friends!
Each individual 米小圈上学记 book begins with an introduction to the character names, table of Contents, and a personal letter from 米小圈.
一年级 has Hanyu Pinyin above all of the simplified Chinese characters.
二年级 also has Pinyin above all of the simplified Chinese characters.
三年级 has simplified Chinese characters only, no Pinyin.
四年级 has simplified Chinese characters only, no Pinyin. A few pages have comic strip style illustrations.
米小圈 Spinoff Series!
Fans of 米小圈上学记 will be happy to know that the author, 北猫, has written several spinoff series including:
- 姜小牙上学记: life from the perspective of 米小圈’s friend
- 成语漫画: Chinese idioms
- 脑筋急转弯: Chinese jokes and riddles
My daughter has read most of them already, and she is often flipping through 成语漫画 and 脑筋急转弯 at random. Since each “story” is only 1-2 pages, they are great books to bring on-the-go, such as traveling on an airplane or waiting at the doctor’s office.
The 米小圈 spinoff books can be purchased separately or as a comprehensive set on Taobao. Please see the details below.
米小圈上学记 一二三四年级 (套装共16册)
- Author: 北猫
- Publisher: 四川少年儿童出版社
- Where to Buy: Please check carefully to compare prices, check reviews, and see whether the stores sell the books as combined sets.
- Simplified Chinese / ISBN: 9787533260897
- Traditional Chinese / ISBN: 9789862254660
- Books.com.tw (一年级 only)
- Where to listen:
米小圈 Printable Reading Log
Since my daughter began to jump around excitedly between the various 米小圈 books, I created a reading log to help her keep track of the books that she read in full.
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What does your child think of 米小圈上学记?
After your child gets a chance to read the series, please leave a comment and let us know what he or she thought of the stories!
We love to learn what you thought of the recommendation and if the Chinese stories sparked any meaningful discussions with your family!
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