The Book Report
Life is an adventure in a big city. There’s always something to discover, but it can also be scary sometimes. With this month’s books, we discover new lands and dedicate the journey to all the young free spirits out there. Katharina Schulz
Little Polar Bear
(for ages 4-8)
Written and illustrated by Hans de Beer
It’s a big day for Lars the polar bear as his father takes him hunting for the first time in his life. The night after their trip, Lars is so tired that he doesn’t notice the ice floe he sleeps on breaking away into the ocean. Clutching a wooden barrel to stay afloat, Lars ends up at a tropical island, where he meets Hippo. The hippopotamus explains how this tropical island is completely different from the North Pole. But can he also help Lars get back home? This charming book is the debut of Dutch illustrator Hans de Beer and has been translated into more than 26 languages. With nearly ten million copies sold, it is one of the most popular children’s books in the world. Little Polar Bear has smooth pastel colored drawings and a heartwarming story about adventure, wanderlust and finding the way back home.
Conclusion: The little polar bear’s adventure shows that discovering new places is an important part of life.
RMB 57 at Poplar Kids Republic Bookstore
(for ages 7 and up)
Written and illustrated by Kay Thompson and Hilary Knight
Brace yourself for 6-year-old Eloise! A “city child” by her own account, Eloise lives on the top floor of the Plaza Hotel in New York City with her British nanny, her dog Weenie that looks like a cat, and a turtle named Skiperdee. When not feeding grapes to her turtle, putting sunglasses on Weenie, or pestering room service, Eloise loves to wander through the hotel and turn the lives of guests and personnel upside down.
Eloise is a real libertine despite her young age, and a series of books chronicles her escapades at the Plaza Hotel. This first adventure of Eloise was published in 1955 and has been a classic ever since. The real Plaza Hotel even had a portrait of the protagonist installed in the lobby at one point.
Conclusion: A fun-filled book that can be passed on through generations. RMB 148 at Poplar Kids Republic Bookstore
Yu Gong Moves Mountains
Yú Gōng Yí Shān
Meaning: The spirit of perseverance
Yu Gong (Foolish Old Man) was a 90-year-old man in ancient times who lived north of two high mountains, Tai Hang and Wang Wu. The mountains blocked Yu Gong’s daily travels to the other side of the mountain. One day, Yu Gong held a family meeting to announce he wanted to move the mountains and build a wide road. Although his wife questioned the idea, everyone else supported him. Yu Gong led his strong sons and grandsons in digging up the mountains and breaking the stones. Bit by bit, they moved rubble and soil to the Bohai Sea. When this news spread, many of his neighbors, both old and young, came to help him pursue this seemingly impossible goal.
One year later, the mountain still looked the same, but Yu Gong and his supporters didn’t stop their work. In Yu Gong’s village, a man named Zhi Sou (Smart Old Man) scorned Yu Gong’s idea and said, “How can you be so stupid? You are old and weak. You cannot even chop down a tree, so how can you move mountains?”
Yu Gong replied with confidence, “Although I will die, my children, my grandchildren, my great grandchildren and their descendants will keep moving it. The mountains will not grow. One day, we will move them!”
When the Emperor of the Heavens heard about Yu Gong’s story, he was touched by his strong will and firm resolution. He asked the mountain gods to carry the mountains away. Today, you can find Tai Hang and Wang Wu mountains in Henan province.
Chinese people use Yu Gong’s story to encourage friends to pursue difficult goals. The saying goes, “As long as you have the spirit of Yu Gong Yi Shan, you will achieve success.”(只要你有愚公移山的精神, 你就一定能成功)
ASK MS. NUTRITION
Food Labels, Whole Grains
I like to read nutrition labels on foods – do they have these in China, and are they easy to follow?
In May, new rules were introduced requiring all packaged food to display nutrition labeling. This information may not be as detailed as you may be used to, carrying just the details for fat, protein and carbohydrates, with no number for the total kilocalories, or calories. Figures are usually per 100g, and often displayed as greater than or less than a certain number of grams.
Sometimes, you can work out total calories by multiplying the grams of each nutrient by their calories per gram (1g fat= 9kcal, 1g carbohydrate= 4kcal, 1g protein = 4kcal).
Nutrition labels tend not to be in English, unless they are on an imported item (and then you have to peel off the Chinese label first). However, these characters may help you work out what’s what:
energy (热 量 rè liàng)
fat (脂肪 zhǐ fáng)
protein (蛋白质 dàn bái zhì)
carbohydrate (碳水化合物 tàn shǔi huà hé wù)
I try to include plenty of whole grains in my diet, but am struggling to find whole grain bread here. Do you have any suggestions?
The German Bakers, Jenny Lou’s and April Gourmet – among other shops – all stock excellent (although slightly pricey) whole grain breads. If you are looking to get hold of whole grains closer to home, try experimenting with the abundant dry grains such as millet, barley, sorghum and beans, which are all available from open barrels in the supermarket. Brown and wild rice can also be found in these barrels, and these make a healthy substitute for white rice. Try buying a prepared packet of eight treasures congee (bā bǎo zhōu) for breakfast or a midafternoon snack to really boost your intake.
Nina Lenton is a UK-registered dietitian living and working in Beijing and can be reached at email@example.com.
Around the World
oct 8 wed
This Jewish holiday, also known as the Day of Atonement, is the most important Jewish holiday – a day of fasting, atonement and repentance. Observers fast from sundown the night before (Oct 8) until nightfall the next day (Oct 9).
oct 9 thu
Hangul day, or Korean Alphabet Day, is when Korean people celebrate the invention of Hangul, the native Korean alphabet by King Sejong. Before its invention in 1446, the written language used in Korea was traditionally Chinese. On this day Hangul essay-writing competitions are held all over Korea.
oct 11 sat
Each year in Hawaii, people compete in this grueling race of a 2.4 mile ocean swim in Kailua-Kona Bay, a 112-mile bike ride across the Hawaiian lava desert and a marathon along the coast of the Big Island. The Hawaiian Ironman is often regarded as the most rigorous triathlon.
oct 31 fri
Get ready for children everywhere in the world dressing up as ghastly characters, going door-to-door screaming “trick-or-treat”. While children are scavenging for candy, teenagers and adults host parties in a haunted house atmosphere and enjoy activities such as apple bobbing and pumpkin carving.