5 Minutes for Books:
Mandy and Pandy Teach Kids Chinese

mpplaysportsI am not quite as fortunate as Janice and Susan to have a French language immersion school as an option for my kids, but Kyle’s Kindergarten teacher is fluent in three languages (English, Spanish,and Portuguese). Before teaching in his school, she taught English as a second language. Because of her interests and gifts, she incorporates a lot of fun and educational language activities. Kyle has learned many songs in other languages, including Jingle Bells in all three of the languages she knows. Each week the class learns to say “Good morning” in a different language. As a result of these fun activities, Kyle has taken an interest in foreign languages that I want to encourage as much as I can.

Mandy and Pandy Play Sports is a board book perfect for PreK to younger elementary students. The text is fairly simple, and each page features the story in English, then in Mandarin Chinese characters, and then spelled out phonetically in Chinese. There is a CD that goes along with the book. The first track was a sort of introduction (and a little odd to be honest), but the second track was a clear rendition of the story — first spoken in English, then repeated conversationally in Chinese. The subsequent tracks tell the story only in Chinese, and slower so that you could learn to speak it.

The story includes various sports from baseball, to football, to swimming, to volleyball, to soccer, to gymnastics, to track which increases it’s appeal to kids interested in all sorts of activities. Oftentimes we only see one type of sport, but Pandy (the friendly Panda Bear), tells Mandy at the beginning of the book, “I enjoy playing many sports.”

I like that it’s a board book, because it’s sturdy, even for the over-two set. The other amazing thing about the set is that the CD has an inset place to rest right inside the book cover. I hate that our other book and CD sets come in a vinyl case, and the CD just floats around in there, and inevitably gets separated. Bravo to the designers on this feature!

These really are a fun way to introduce your children to another language. After listening to it, my son was making Chinese-esque word sounds while he was playing. I asked him if he was speaking Chinese, and he said, “I don’t know, am I?” Well, I don’t know either, but how cool that he is taking it all in!

If your child enjoys Ni-Hao Kai Lan, this might be a fun add-on for him or her.

We have a copy of Mandy and Pandy Play Sports to give away to one of you (U.S. addresses only). If you’d like to win, leave a comment telling us which Mandy and Pandy book title you think would post interest you. You can also keep up with Mandy and Pandy by becoming a fan on Facebook.

We don’t have a winner to announce, because the Bookish Board Games giveaway is still open through Saturday. Click over to win two games from I Can Do That! Games.

The winner of this book and CD set, and the winner of the Bookish Board Games will be announced in this column on Monday April 5.

You can also still enter to the Fireworks Over Toccoa sweepstakes through March 30 — 300 books will be given away.

Written by book blogger Jennifer Donovan, who manages 5 Minutes for Books and also blogs at Snapshot. A copy of the book was provided for review purposes.


  1. says

    I would like the book on visiting China; having adopted Alyzabeth there, she is always interested in talking about China. Thanks!

    Alyzabeth’s Mommy for 18 Months!

  2. Chris says

    These look like great books! Would love to win one to share with our daughter adopted from China in 2008. Since we don’t have any of them, any would be great, but if I had to choose, I would say the one about China looks like the best one. Thanks for the opportunity!

  3. says

    I would love to win this for my daughter. I went to the website and really liked all their books, especially Mandy and Pandy visit China.

    My daughter was born in China. She’s going to be four in April and is fascinated by all things from China. I hope to encourage and maintain her interest in her culture.

  4. says

    I’m half Chinese and my one year old son is a quarter Chinese; we went on a trip to China when he was about 8 months and I would like to continue his exposure to Chinese Culture. I would probably purchase the Many and Pandy say Ni Hao Ma as it sounds like a great introduction, though like the other Momma’s have stated the visit China book would also be great, especially if it highlighted some of the places we have been!!
    Thanks for the opportunity to win,
    amber :)

  5. says

    Oh, we would LOVE this! My daughter and I both take Mandarin classes. I’d have to say our preference would be “Mandy and Pandy visit China” because we WILL be visiting China sometime in the next 12 months, as we are almost to the end of our long, long wait to adopt from China a second time.

  6. Cheryl Gayer says

    Would love the book about China. With a lid of 4/25/06 we hope to bring our daughter home this year. As a first grade teacher, I would love to have it to share not only with my daughter, but also my class to encourage students interest in foreign languages!

  7. says

    These look like great books! Today is the first day I’ve heard about them. My amazing baby girl is adopted from China and I really like the title, ‘Mandy and Pandy Visit China’. Just looking at the cover gave me goosebumps as it was less than 5 months ago that we visited the Great Wall and Forbidden City. China is an AMAZING country and I cannot wait to teach my daughter about the beautiful country she was born in!!

  8. Passie says

    I’m french and my daughter is born in the USA so at now age 3 she is fluent in both languages. On top of that we both learned and continue to improve in ASL. I’m also teaching her Spanish because we live in the South and it’s kinda required here. We’ve recently discovered Kai-Lan and we both hopped on board. I’ve had a good look at the six book and I feel the best for us would be the very 1st one: “Ni-Hao Ma”. We’ll be moving to Europe in the Summer and my child will next start with her Dutch. I believe being multi-lingual helps you understand the little differences in all of us.

  9. says

    We just came home from China in Sept. with a little 4 year old, would love to help her keep up her native toung! This would be an awesome tool!
    Thanks for letting me play!


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