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The Asian Reporter's
BOOK REVIEWS


 

LUNAR LEARNING. Ruth Spiro’s Baby Loves Lunar Phases on Chinese New Year! is a board book aimed at infants through three-year-olds. The new book, illustrated by Irene Chan, is part of the Baby Loves Science series. Pictured (clockwise from top left) are the book cover, light lanterns, and the 12 animals represented in the lunar calendar.

EASY ALMOND COOKIES. Baby Loves Lunar Phases on Chinese New Year! introduces children to the zodiac animals, the phases of the moon, and new year traditions in a fun and easy-to-understand way. In addition to the book, there is a recipe for Baby’s Favorite Almond Cookies located in the Activity Guide which is downloadable from the publisher’s website, <www.charlesbridge.com>.

From The Asian Reporter, V32, #2 (February 7, 2022), pages 10 & 11.

Learn about science while celebrating the Lunar New Year

Baby Loves Lunar Phases on Chinese New Year!

By Ruth Spiro

Illustrations by Irene Chan

Charlesbridge, 2021

Board book, 20 pages, $8.99

By Jody Lim

The Asian Reporter

This year we discovered a new book in the Baby Loves Science series. Ruth Spiro’s Baby Loves Lunar Phases on Chinese New Year! is a board book aimed at infants through three-year-olds, but will educate and entertain all ages, including this writer. Seeking youngsters in the book’s target age group, I read it with my four-year-old nephew and his two- and three-year-old buddies.

On the very first page, we discovered Baby with nine of the 12 lunar zodiac animals which were called "stuffies" and "toys" by my nephew and the two-year-old, respectively. We quickly named the animals, including the Dragon, whose gold and red tail was the only thing we were able to see since it was hiding in a green container.

Baby then helps prepare for visits by family and friends by making decorations, choosing a special outfit, and cleaning the house — putting all the zodiac animals away.

Soon we were introduced to the lunar calendar, which uses the moon to measure time.

"The moon orbits, or goes around, the earth every twenty-nine and a half days. This is a lunar month," we learn.

"As the moon orbits the earth, the earth orbits the sun. Light from the sun shines on the moon, making half of it bright," we read while looking at the charming illustrations by Irene Chan.

Then the lunar phases are presented. The first image is of the new moon, when "Baby can’t see the moon!" Then comes the waxing crescent, the first quarter ("The moon seems to get bigger and bigger ..."), the waxing gibbous, and the full moon ("until it’s full"). The cycle continues with the waning gibbous, the third quarter, and the waning crescent, then the moon disappears again.

The Lunar New Year begins on a new moon. "Each new year honors an animal," we read as Baby sees all 12 animals — Pig, Dog, Rooster, Monkey, Goat, Horse, Snake, Dragon, Rabbit, Tiger, Ox, and Rat — seemingly flying left to right across the page.

Then there’s a parade, fireworks, drumming, and the lion dance — "Baby loves the lion dance."

My toddler readers were engaged, describing all the colorful and detailed images in the book — oranges, tea, lanterns, cake, candy, and firecrackers that go "BOOM!"

We also learned about how families celebrate in different ways — eating special foods, lighting lanterns, and giving out lucky red envelopes.

Our two-year-old friend has been learning how to spell his name, so in addition to naming the lunar new year images throughout the book, he also pointed out the first letter of his name, T — goaT, raT, rabbiT.

Baby Loves Lunar Phases on Chinese New Year! introduces children to the zodiac animals, the phases of the moon, and new year traditions in a fun and easy-to-understand way. Our audience of three kiddos was enthusiastic and focused. Baby Loves Lunar Phases was published this winter and is available at bookstores across the county.

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