'These books are a delight'

Theresa Munford

These books are a delight, the stories well told, the illustrations lively and appealing and the 64-page format very accessible to young readers. What makes them really stand out from the crowd, however, are the imaginative and detailed schemes of work that accompany each book. Ideal for upper primary or lower secondary, they could be the basis of an entire term’s worth of exciting learning, from science to writing, from PSHE to mathematic, from art and design to geography and history.

Each scheme of work also includes Chinese language topics, graded for beginners, for those with a little language and for those gaining confidence. So, for example, the language work suggested for The Water Margin includes nicknames (which would bring in adjectives and basic greetings) for beginners; conjunctions (I am called this because ... ) for those with some language; and, for more advanced, a look at the way that Chinese words combine to make different meanings.

With lots of web links to resources and free teaching tools, there is no need for the teacher, whether a specialist or not, to have to hunt around for information, video links or other ways of broadening the learning experience. Reading the ideas in the schemes of work makes you want to throw away your term’s planning and dive into one of these units.

The books themselves also have illustrated list of protagonists to help those confused by unfamiliar names, maps where necessary, brief introductions to the historical contexts, web links, and suggested topics for discussion or further thought.

Rereading these tales reminds you of why they have endured. Books like these will bring all those wonderful, complex characters like Dai Yu, Cao Cao, Wu Song, and, of course, Monkey, stepping out of the pages and into the imaginations of new generations of children.