Bamboo is said to be the most versatile tree on the planet! It’s fast-growing, beautiful, pliable, yet strong, all at the same time. From food for humans and animals to shoes and hats, it can be used in a plethora of ways. Bamboo and Me: Exploring Bamboo’s Many Uses in Daily Life, is a lovely book for children.
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Tuttle Publishing kindly sent us a copy of Bamboo and Me: Exploring Bamboo’s Many Uses in Daily Life, by Xu Bin & Yuann Yuhaun, for us to review. An added feature is that it’s told in both English and Chinese, giving children exposure to a foreign language, and being able to read it in one or both languages, if they or a friend or family member are able. I’m so happy to see dual-language books are becoming more common!
Bamboo is such a wonderful resource; it grows quickly, it can be flexible, or extremely strong. It can be made into clothing, houses, cups, toys, and it can even be eaten! I’m not sure there isn’t anything it can’t do. Bamboo out in the wild is very different from the domesticated versions in UK gardens that don’t multiply or grow beyond 2 meters in height.
It can be hard to explain this to a child as sometimes they tend not to take their parents’ advice so well…but put it into a storybook and they’re all ears! Why not brainstorm before you read and find out how many of bamboo’s uses you already know?
In Bamboo and Me, the young narrator has a dream where one spring a big red fish told him to go into the bamboo forest to find a present. Over the course of the next year, the narrator goes into the forest with his family on many occasions to gather bamboo for baskets, fans, shoots for meals, for making water troughs, and many more items…but the narrator was still looking for his present.
One day some sticks were cut from the bamboo and Dad shaped them into a frame and the children painted the sail…for a huge kite…in the shape of a big red fish!
Autumn and winter passed with more opportunities for creating and selling bamboo items at the market, and received great gifts Grandpa had made from bamboo.
What a great gift bamboo is to both humans and animals!
The illustrations are a mix of full-page and smaller vignettes that clearly show the family working and having fun, all while reaping the benefits of the mighty bamboo. From traditional country life and hutongs, to jostling markets, every illustration has a lot to look at. There are many ways conversations about daily life in China, and how bamboo contributes to it, can be brought up and discussed. A new conversation each time the book is read will surely ensue about the many uses of bamboo.
Kallista quite enjoyed Bamboo and Me, and she wanted to share her thoughts with you, too:
Bamboo and Me is a great fact-filled story book that really tells two tales; one about the narrator’s dream, and the other about bamboo’s uses in everyday life. This makes it fun and informative without being dry. The dual-language element is also a great way to bring generations together and for other languages to be introduced to children.
If you’re interested in purchasing Bamboo and Me, it’s available through:
- Tuttle Publishing
- Great bookstores near you