Titel: Xiao Wen xilie tuhua shu (Bilderbuchreihe "Kleine Wen", Set aus 10 Bänden) - 小文系列图画书（全10册）
Author / Editor: 王若文 Wang Ruowen (著 text), 徐威 Xu Wie, 于鹤忱 Yu Hechen (绘 illustrations)
ISBN: 0000022740324, 0000022740324
Series: 小文 Xiao Wen
Publisher: 21st Century Publishing House - 二十一世纪出版社
Language: simplified Chinese Character
Date of Publication: 2012.05
Number of pages: 10 x 32
Dimensions: 21.3 x 28 cm
Life is fascinating to children who come to this world with fresh eyes, curious minds and a strong passion to explore, especially to Wen, a little girl who grew up in China. China is a large country with a long history, a lot of traditional values and countless social rules. How did Wen make room for herself to grow in a society where girls inquisitive nature was suppressed and lively personalities were shaped to confine to the rigid social expectations? Read the story, which is based on the author s early childhood memories.
About the Author
Ruowen Wang is an accomplished author and publisher of a number of outstanding children s books. She taught English as a Second Language as a specialist for ten years, and also operated a learning centre for young children. Her passionate interest in children s literature has led Ruowen to focus on the writing and publishing of children s books. Ruowen is dedicated writing culturally diverse stories for children, as well as promoting gender equality and multiculturalism through children s literature. Ruowen lives in Toronto, Canada, with her husband and two children.
CM Magazine: Canadian Review of Materials
Little Wen: “What is the Chinese Saying for This One?”
Ruowen Wang. Illustrated by Wei Xu.
Kindergarten-grade 5 / Ages 5-10.
Review by Huai-Yang Lim.
Wen was anything but well-mannered and cultured. She roamed the streets and climbed trees. Once, Mama told her that only mischievous boys climbed like monkeys. “Girls should not climb,” she said.
“People say if a girl climbs trees, her babies will be born with six toes.”
Wen liked that idea. “That’s good. My baby girls will climb faster.”
Based on the author’s own childhood experiences in China, this attractive picture book tells an entertaining tale about a young Chinese girl who is exuberant and curious about the world around her. Undeterred by adults’ disapproval about the way that she acts because it is not how girls should act, the protagonist Wen asks questions about why things are the way they are and does things like climbing trees. Even though her curiosity and attempts to help have unintended effects, she remains the same as ever.
The story itself is not structured around a well-defined plot but rather is an episodic narrative of incidents that aim to flesh out Wen’s character and the social environment in which she grows up. Wen grows up among well-meaning adults who would want Wen to act like a “quiet, clean, and well-behaved” girl so that she will maintain her family’s good reputation and find a good husband when she grows up. However, Wen struggles against the adults’ rigid expectations, particularly as her naturally inquisitive behaviour goes against their views about how children should behave.
Although it is firmly rooted in Chinese culture, this story transcends cultural boundaries. It will serve well as a historical example that is accessible to young children who will identify with Wen and her desire to express her own identity. Readers will identify with Wen’s incessant questioning of the environment around her and sympathize with her when things go wrong. Although Wen’s mother does disapprove of Wen’s behaviour sometimes, she is also depicted by Wang as a sympathetic person who does recognize and accept Wen’s differences from other Chinese girls.
Illustrated by Wei Xu, an award-winning artist, the book’s illustrations help to convey an appropriate tone for Wang’s story. The simply drawn, coloured illustrations are not overly realistic and strive for a more animated, cartoon-like appearance instead, which is appropriate because of the book’s more lighthearted topic. They connote the protagonist Wen’s exuberance and emotions, particularly through their depiction of her facial expressions, body language, and pigtails in active and spontaneous poses. The close-ups of Wen’s face encourage reader identification with her when she is sad as well as when she is happy or excited.
The picture book’s language level makes it suitable for children ages 7 and up because it contains more difficult words such as “reputation,” courtyard,” and “embarrassment.” Though these words do not appear too frequently, younger children can better appreciate the story if parents and teachers read it aloud to them since there is also a fair amount of text on each page. For older children, they can better appreciate the book if they have some knowledge about the significance of Chinese sayings, which have historically been used to instruct children about how to live and behave, as well as the story’s historical and cultural context.
As an instructional tool, this book will fit well into units about Chinese culture and children growing up in different cultures. Teachers could use the book to introduce students to Chinese proverbs and people’s perceptions of girls in traditional Chinese culture. It may be particularly interesting for students to examine the history behind the Chinese sayings and to compare them to English proverbs. This story’s humourous aspects will make the proverbs more accessible to children.
One cautionary note about this book is that readers should avoid construing Wen’s actions as a rejection of Chinese culture per se. There are several stories now in which female characters feel constrained by their traditional culture’s gender expectations and rebel against them in order to assert their individuality. Although it is for younger children, Little Wen’s narrative trajectory is similar, and some readers may come away from this book with a negative impression of Chinese culture because of its gender constraints. Therefore, a sensitized understanding of traditional Chinese culture and its gender expectations will be beneficial.
Little Wen: “What is the Chinese Saying for This One?”
For ages 3-8.
(Resource Links, October 2007 (Vol. 13, No. 1))
Girls should not climb; learn to hold your tongue; that is not a question a little girl should ask; behave yourself like other girls, and don't shame your family.
This is what Wen hears from the adults in her life. Chinese Canadian author Ruowen Wang brings her childhood memories to her book Little Wen. Wen's mom and the female adult's in her community believe Wen's questions, giggles, ideas, energy, and curiosity are unacceptable behaviours for a little girl to exhibit. Wen's name means well-mannered and cultured but her neighbours call her "a little mad girl". After Wen's peanut plant dies, she starts learning old Chinese sayings from her mom. One is about patience, and another about time and effort. There is no Chinese saying though for the embarrassment Wen causes her mom in the courtyard. It's Wen's questioning mind though that breaks the tension between mother and child.
This childhood story explores some of the traditional beliefs and values of the author's parent's generation. Clothing, parenting, and expectations are touched on in Wen's story. My favourite part of the book is the afterward about the peanut plant.
Ruowen Wang lives in Toronto. She is no stranger to reading and children's literature. She is a collector of books and writings. Her dream is to become a publisher so she can promote multicultural children's literature. Her other books include The Hidden Treasure, and Eenie Meenie Minie Moe. Wei Xu has illustrated several books for authors in China . He works in an advertising company as a chief designer. His home is in Toronto . We see the vibrant and authentic Wen in Wei Xu's illustrations. Wen's extremely long pigtails are seldom still - and this could be because she's always moving! She might be on a window ledge, or a shed roof, or half way up a tree. Her facial expressions are endless and understandable. I think the most telling picture is the one of Wen giving the peanut plant a hand in growing. I also liked page sixteen. I spent a lot of time looking at this picture of Wen and her mom. I would buy this book for my library.
Category: Picture Books. Thematic Links: Multicultural Children?s Books; Chinese Traditions and Beliefs; Mother-Daughter Relationships. Resource Links Rating: G (Good, great at times, generally useful!), Ages 6 to 9.
Little Wen: "I Want to See About That."
Ruowen Wang. Illustrated by Wei Xu.
Preschool-grade 1 / Ages 4-6.
Review by Myra Junyk.
Mama put on her stern face. "Mothers know everything. Trust me. Now, no more questions!"
"All right no more questions… But do mothers really know everything?" Oops, another question. Little Wen quickly covered her mouth and made a face.
"Just believe what I say, or your questioning will bring us bad luck. If not all my chicks turn out to be egg-laying hens, it could be our fault entirely."
"Oh, really?" Little Wen was fascinated. "I want to see about that."
Little Wen moves to the countryside as she is starting Grade One. Since country life is new to her, she eagerly explores her surroundings. Lots of things are different here! Houses are made of mud and straw. There are many animals - piglets, roosters and chicks. When her mother decides to raise her own chicks, Wen has lots of questions. Her new friend and neighbour, Mei, is also a mystery to Little Wen because Mei's mother has shaved Mei's head to make her hair grow in faster and healthier. After learning about Mei, Little Wen decides to experiment with her mother's new chicks to see if they, too, can have longer hair by her cutting all the down off their heads. Will Little Wen ever stop experimenting and asking, "I want to see about that?"
Little Wen is a very curious child who finds herself in a new environment which she wants to explore fully. As an only child, she is often left to her own devices. This allows her to try out her assumptions by doing things like cutting off all the down on the chick's heads. Her mother is shocked by her behaviour and manages to stop her before she cuts all of the hair off the tomcat's head! Little Wen's curiosity about everyday events will surely be familiar to young readers.
Little Wen's impetuous actions lead to several improbable events in this picture book. Why is she left alone to experiment with the animals? Why does she seem to act in isolation? We see her with her mother on occasion – but never with her father. Her friend Mei appears briefly to set up the problem of the hair – but then disappears for most of the book – only to appear again with a full head of hair. The vocabulary of this picture book could also be a challenge for very young readers. Words such as "fertilizer" "courtyard" and "earthquake" could be problematic since the meanings of these words are not obvious through the context of the language or the illustrations.
The watercolour illustrations provide useful information for readers. Most of the illustrations portray Little Wen with one or two other individuals. They help readers to understand her character. Her boredom is evident as she explores the puddles on the mud floor of their new home. Her excitement is evident when she meets her new friend Mei and discovers that she is now bald! But most of all, readers can see Little Wen's mischievous nature when she tells them, "I want to see about that." As she is cutting off the down from the heads of the chicks, her facial expressions reveal her intense concentration on her task.
This interesting picture book explores the world of curiosity and imagination. Young children need to explore their worlds – in a safe way. They need to be able to say "I want to see about that" in order to understand their world.