Top critical review
Reviewed in the United States on February 8, 2019
What we appreciated about this book:
1) Board-book format is sturdy, practical.
2) Illustrations are colorful, generally cute.
3) The zodiac theme is wonderful and culturally enriching.
What we found disappointing:
1) There's only one Chinese character (alongside its pinyin) per animal. Other than "Xi" (happiness/luck) -- part of the cover illustration -- there are only 12 Chinese characters in this 24-page book, and they're not prominent in size. By contrast, there are 100+ English words (i.e., descriptions of each animal's qualities are in English with no accompanying Chinese). To me this book might appeal as a first exposure to Chinese culture (and animals in general), but not to the Chinese language, contrary to its subtitle as "a bilingual baby book."
2) While some illustrations are visually captivating, others are very simple. All have the look of having been digitally composed, not hand-drawn. That's a personal preference, to be sure, but it made a difference to us.
More emphasis on presenting Chinese characters as part of the visual experience, and perhaps more evenly captivating illustrations, might have made this book more compelling to our 1+ year old. We ordered this book with a lot of excitement, but it has not become one of the many that our child picks out to reread time after time.
Bilingual Mandarin/English board books are hard to come by on Amazon. This book's very existence contributes to a much-needed category, and we're thankful to the author and illustrator for their effort.